The Thunder and Al Horford agreed he’d sit out the final seven weeks of last season. Oklahoma City then traded him to the Celtics this summer.
The Rockets and John Wall just agreed he’d sit out while both sides seek a new team for him. That could leave him sidelined all season.
The 76ers, on the other hand, have tried to convince Ben Simmons to report and reportedly plan to fine him if he doesn’t. As Simmons digs in heels in hopes of enticing a trade, don’t expect Philadelphia to approve of him sitting out.
I was told very clearly that the Sixers do not liken these circumstances to Al Horford’s last season in Oklahoma City or John Wall’s in Houston. As the start of training camp draws near, Philadelphia has shown zero interest to date in striking the sort of mutual agreement that Wall and the Rockets just hatched to shelve the former All-Star point guard.
The big difference between the 76ers and Thunder/Rockets: Philadelphia is trying to win now. Oklahoma City was tanking, and rebuilding Houston is too young to win now.
Simmons is a very good regular-season player. He can help the 76ers win until dealt, improving the seed of the roster they eventually take into the playoffs.
By playing, Simmons would also likely boost his trade value, gaining distance from last postseason’s disappointment. Horford and Wall are older players whose value is helped more by resting, not adding to their mileage.
The 76ers – like the Thunder with Horford and Rockets with Wall – want to trade Simmons. But the circumstances differ greatly.