The Philadelphia 76ers received a big surprise on Monday when 25-year-old three-time All-Star Ben Simmons showed up to the Wells Fargo Center before their preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets.
The development comes after he threatened to hold out in order to force a trade and declared he never wanted to play a game for the Sixers again. However, the team has wanted him back and has been punishing him with hefty fines to entice him back.
It appears that strategy has worked. Simmons even showed up at the facility on Tuesday to talk with coach Doc Rivers and president Daryl Morey while undergoing a physical required to move forward. He will begin preparing for the season on Wednesday night individually as he is not yet cleared to work out with the team due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols.
“We met yesterday several times,” said Rivers. “We did all the stuff, the physicals, testing, and everything he needed to do. He’ll come back in this evening and work out with the guys, well individual workouts until he clears protocol and we’ll go from there.”
At this point, it is unknown if Simmons is back all-in with the Sixers or he is back to just collect his paychecks until he gets traded, but Rivers is assuming he is returning to play for the Sixers again. He added that he felt good walking away from the meeting with Simmons.
“I’m assuming he’s going to play, but who knows, right?” asked Rivers. “I don’t know. I can’t get in anyone’s head, so those are questions that I can’t answer. … I felt good.”
The Sixers have a final preseason game against at the Detroit Pistons on Friday, which is the first day he is allowed to rejoin the team. So Rivers would not rule out that he steps on the floor against Detroit despite being behind his teammates at the moment.
“We’re not ruling that out at all,” he explained. “Whether we play him or not, that’s going to depend on what we see this week. He’s coming from behind because he hasn’t been in camp, obviously. Having said that, do you rush him and put him on the floor? That’s a whole ‘nother subject.”
It remains to be seen if Simmons will be out there on Friday, but the fact he is back with the team is a good sign for what the Sixers want moving forward. It is clear they want him out there and this is the first step toward that.
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Source : https://sixerswire.usatoday.com/2021/10/13/doc-rivers-talks-meeting-with-ben-simmons-wont-rule-him-out-for-games/490