We’re all well aware of the Ben Simmons dilemma by now, and how much of a dark cloud that Ben has become over our heads during this Sixers season. However, to understand that Simmons is effectively distancing himself from the Philadelphia 76ers over last year’s playoffs is one thing, but we also must understand that by waiting through the deadline, we are effectively losing our championship window.
Joel Embiid is without a doubt the star of this franchise. Not Tobias Harris, not Matisse Thybulle, not Tyrese Maxey (although he is certainly going to be the star in a few years), and most certainly not Ben Simmons. Embiid, who is coming off a career-high 50-point game against Orlando this past Wednesday, is not going to put these significant numbers up forever while Simmons is MIA. The 76ers have handled themselves well on the court while Ben Simmons has been gone from the organization, establishing themselves as still a playoff-ready team with rising star Tyrese Maxey showing up night in and night out in Simmons’ absence. What needs to come into question, is the way the front office of the 76ers organization is handling this chaotic situation.
In the 76ers front office, GM Elton Brand and President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey effectively run the show for the owners Michael Rubin and Josh Harris. Unlike the past, Morey and Brand have shown that they want to be in touch with the fan base in order to try to make good moves for the future of the franchise.
With that being said, where has that led us?
The 76ers were the No. 1 seed last season going into the NBA Playoffs, only to fall in the second-round against the upstart Atlanta Hawks in seven games. Before last season, the 76ers got swept in the first round against their longtime rival Boston Celtics in the 2020 bubble. The last time the 76ers even sniffed a conference final was the 2019 second-round against the Toronto Raptors, which broke all of Philadelphia’s hearts as Kawhi Leonard hit the last second shot to end the season for Embiid and company.
Now, Morey was still at Houston during that 2019 run, but that does not excuse the fact that we are wasting a potential MVP’s prime in Joel Embiid because of a man that doesn’t want to own up to his bad play in the playoffs last season.
Ben Simmons has turned himself into the ultimate villain in Philadelphia sports, and in order to move forward, Morey and Brand must make a move. Simmons should be traded by the deadline, in order for the 76ers to move out of his shadow and push with what they have for a championship. Stagnation will only lead to further decline in this franchise and just as we have seen with the Philadelphia Flyers this year, it will only lead to further losses and frustration for all involved.
So, Daryl, Elton. As much as you have earned the respect of the 76er faithful in these past few years, now is the time to make a move. If a move is not made this season, then the 76ers will regret wasting several prime MVP-level years of Joel Embiid’s career, just as they did with Allen Iverson twenty years ago.