The Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons had a potential breakthrough in the disgruntled guard’s return to the organization on Friday morning. Simmons reportedly showed up to practice, said everyone (including himself) has to accept responsibility for how things have gone in Philly, and expressed that while he wants to play, he’s not mentally ready to do that.
Whether or not Simmons plays for the Sixers, of course, is a different story — he has been steadfast in saying he has no intention of ever taking the floor for the franchise again — but after months of things being messy between the two sides, this is the exceedingly rare step in a positive direction. And while it may take some time for Simmons to get to a place where he thinks he can perform to the standard he thinks is necessary, one of his teammates is willing to wait.
Tobias Harris took to Twitter after the reports of Simmons’ meeting came out and made clear that the locker room is going to embrace Simmons with open arms whenever he’s ready to play.
And we’ll respect his privacy and space during this time. When he’s ready, we will embrace our brother with love and handle our business on the court. That's it, that's all. https://t.co/eardjmQbz8
— Tobias Harris (@tobias31) October 22, 2021
That sentiment was shared by another Sixer, Tyrese Maxey.
Philly will play its first home game of the regular season on Friday night against the Brooklyn Nets. Simmons is not expected to play, although it remains to be seen if he will be in attendance.