KEY POINTS

  • Ben Simmons declined to meet with his Sixers teammates in Los Angeles, a report says
  • He reportedly discouraged his teammates from making the commute as he has no plans to change his mind
  • Simmons likely won't ever be the same dedicated player for the 76ers even if he stays, according to the report

The Philadelphia 76ers continue to try to convince Ben Simmons to return to the team. However, Simmons' response to the team's efforts so far may be an indication that it's time for them to focus on the 2021-22 NBA season and play hardball with the disgruntled star.

The 76ers' core leaders, Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle, and most of the team had planned to fly from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to talk to the 25-year-old cager, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported, citing unnamed sources.

However, Simmons declined to meet his teammates, some of whom are his friends, as he has no plans to change his mind, the report said. The 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year is standing pat on his demand for a trade out of Philadelphia, according to the report. 

Sources also told The Athletic that Simmons likely won't be the same dedicated player even if the 76ers manage to convince him to appear in Philadelphia this season.

The relationship between Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers appears to have been strained ever since their sorry exit from last year’s NBA playoffs. The comments of Sixers head coach Doc Rivers did not sit well, and the same goes for some words coming from Embiid.

Although there have been trade suggestions made, moving the 6-foot-11 cager will not be easy. Simmons still has $147 million left in his current contract with the Sixers. Most teams are not too keen on dealing for the three-time All-Star and continue to question his overall value.

Simmons is aware that he is facing suspension and fines and could have his salary withheld due to his actions, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported. But while he's eager to join a new team, the Sixers "have yet to find a trade they’re willing to make" for Simmons, according to the journalist.

Amid his trade drama, Simmons' ability to shoot from the outside remains a concern. Although he is considered a standout in other parts of his game, it remains that being able to convert from the perimeter and the free-throw line is something that the Australian cager needs to address.

In an exclusive interview on "Sports Bytes PH" with Filipino journalist Brian Yalung, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant book author Roland Lazenby noted that Simmons does not have to be a perfect shooter but has to realize that this issue is something he would need to address at some point – regardless of which NBA team he ends up with.

“It doesn’t mean that he needs to be a drop-dead shooter. Ben Simmons has a lot of fundamentals that are better than other players. He is a better ball distributor, he is a better defender, a better passer. He is a presence on the floor that can oversee the defense. But this [Simmons’ shooting] is an issue,” Lazenby stated.

“You may be able to drop to a team such as Minnesota, which could obviously use this very talented guy. But if that team is going to advance with you, those questions are going to reappear,” he added.

Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers defends James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers defends James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets Photo: Getty Images | Tim Warner