Report: Before he threatened holdout, 76ers wanted to keep Ben Simmons into season

Ben Simmons and 76ers owner Josh Harris
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Ben Simmons told the 76ers he wanted to be traded and wouldn’t report to training camp.

Philadelphia’s brass – owner Josh Harris, president Daryl Morey, general manager Elton Brand and coach Doc Rivers – planned to deliver a very-different message during their meeting with Simmons last month.

Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks of ESPN:

The Sixers intended to tell Simmons they couldn’t find a deal for him and hoped to put aside differences and enter the season on the same page, sources said.

This certainly indicates the 76ers aren’t close to a trade.

Maybe Philadelphia has lowered its asking price in the couple weeks since meeting with Simmons. But after evaluating the market then planning to keep Simmons into next season, reversing course and completing a trade would be a major swing.

How did the 76ers think they’d avoid this mess?

After Morey said he wouldn’t trade Simmons then offered Simmons to the Rockets for James Harden? After Rivers said he didn’t know whether Simmons could be the point guard on a championship team? After Joel Embiid threw Simmons under the bus following Philadelphia’s second-round loss to the Hawks? After Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, broached a trade when meeting with the team shortly after last season? After the 76ers have been trying to trade Simmons all offseason? After Simmons cut off communication?

Maybe some less-sensitive players could handle all that then return, either temporarily or for the long haul.

But that’s not Simmons.