Michele Roberts: Rumor is promise was made about trading Ben Simmons, hasn’t been kept

76ers owner Joshua Harris and Ben Simmons
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Michele Roberts, while executive-directing the National Basketball Players Association, called out 76ers president Daryl Morey for his handling of Ben Simmons.

Near the end of her term running the union, Roberts reiterated her disgust with the game of chicken in Philadelphia – and implied the 76ers didn’t keep a promise to trade Simmons.

Roberts on SiriusXM NBA Radio, via Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Look, none of us is privy to every detail,” Roberts said. “… This is not an issue that emerged at the start of the season. There has been an issue with this player and that team for a while. Rumor has it promises were made about being able to move the player and obviously those promises either weren’t kept or couldn’t be kept. Who knows?

Who supposedly made this promise?

Morey has said he’ll keep Simmons through the guard’s entire four-year contract if necessary. Though not quite that extreme, Morey has maintained a patient posture in trade talks (until recently relenting a little, well after Roberts’ comments). Morey does have a history of lying publicly about players’ futures with his teams. But that been him saying he’ll keep players before actually moving them – not the other way around.

76ers owner Josh Harris has buckled under pressure before when faced with with people who want a quick fix to the front-office’s antagonistic long-term plan. Did he say something?

Could Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers, tired of dealing with him, have pledged to get Simmons dealt (even while lacking the actual authority to do it)?

The biggest reason to doubt this rumor: Wouldn’t Simmons’ side have more-substantially leaked it if true? This would be a great way to engender sympathy.

Perhaps, there’s a semantics issue. It wouldn’t be surprising if Morey promised to try to trade Simmons if Simmons reported to the team in the interim. Simmons might consider what he’s doing now sufficient, and Morey might not.

Or maybe Roberts was just filling her role as a player advocate – even if that meant spreading not-necessarily accurate information.