The 2021-22 season begins on Oct. 20 for the Philadelphia 76ers when they open on the road against the New Orleans Pelicans and there will be plenty of questions leading up to that night.
The biggest one is the status of Ben Simmons. The embattled star has made it clear that he wants out of Philadelphia and it appears that nothing has changed despite his surprise return to the organization. The Sixers have maintained that they want him back because he gives them their best chance to win, but Simmons wants none of Philadelphia.
As the season approaches, The Stadium and The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports that Simmons’ stance has not changed despite also meeting with coach Doc Rivers and having taken a physical. Also, the Sixers still remain enamored by going after Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
The Sixers would love to get him back on the floor, but I’m told there really isn’t any change as far as where he stands mentally. I think he’s wanted a trade. I think, mentally, that hasn’t changed, and so, it’s still not clear where he stands with the organization. He’s met with Doc Rivers, Daryl Morey, Elton Brand, I’ve been told some of those meetings have gone pretty short. The organization probably feels like it’s gone well so you have two different sides to this and I think rival teams still believe he will be moved, it’s just a matter of time and one player that Philadelphia has monitored throughout the last few months and I think it will continue and the ball will continue to be rolled is Damian Lillard with Portland. I think there’s going to be a light going into this upcoming NBA season on the future of Damian Lillard and if Portland gets off to a rough start, like, I’ll tell you guys this if they’re not improved under Chauncey Billups this year, they risk losing Damian Lillard long term.
The Sixers will still need to find the right value for Simmons, but it remains to be seen if anybody is willing to give up the value that Philadelphia wants for the 25-year old 3-time All-Star. The Sixers will have to figure things out quickly as they continue to work through this tough situation.
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