Folks, the Ben Simmons era in Philadelphia seems to be sprinting towards a conclusion.
After a summer of "does he even want to be here?" whispers surrounding Simmons after his disappointing 2021 postseason, Philadelphia Inquirer beat reporter and Sixers insider Keith Pompey published an explosive report on Tuesday afternoon filled with details from multiple sources close to the situation, who told Pompey that Simmons expressed to the Sixers' decision-makers last week he doesn't want to remain a Sixer, and that he is prepared to sit out training camp until he's moved.
Here's some of the nitty-gritty from Pompey, and then we'll break down what it all means:
"Ben Simmons let it be known that he wants out.
"In a meeting with the 76ers last week in Los Angeles, Simmons told team co-managing partner Josh Harris, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, general manager Elton Brand and coach Doc Rivers that he no longer wants to remain a Sixer, according to multiple sources.
"Sources said the three-time All-Star also does not intend to report to training camp.
"The four told Simmons they wanted him to report to the start of training camp on Sept. 28 and be a part of the team.
"The source said, however, the Sixers' inability to get fair market value isn't Simmons' fault.
"Another source said there's no shortage of teams still interested, but the problem is Morey is demanding a king's ransom.
"Simmons is fully aware the Sixers can fine him for holding out and failing to show up to training camp. But a source said money will not play a role in the decision-making for Simmons, who has four years and $147 million remaining on his deal.
"When asked specifically whether he thought Simmons would come back at all, a source responded "no," resolutely."
That's a whole lot to take in! And, after months of sifting through buzz and largely-radio silence from Simmons, it would seem to indicate that this relationship is indeed over.
Now, why is this news coming on Aug. 31 and not earlier in the offseason? Perhaps Simmons needed time to remove himself from the disappointing playoff performance, evaluate his place in the Sixers and in the NBA, and get his "mental right", as he said he wanted to do in his final postgame press conference of the postseason.
Simmons has recently started posting more on social media, including some shots from gyms in Los Angeles, and has been filmed once again shooting three-pointers in open gym runs out on the West Coast.
It's possible that Simmons finally reached a decision and is now seeking to find a new home before training camp starts. It's equally possible that this information is coming from Simmons' camp, and that Simmons reached this decision a while ago but decided to remain quiet in the hopes that the Sixers would find him a new home without his urging - but as the offseason beat on and Daryl Morey was unable to move the three-time All-Star, Simmons decided to force his hand in this reported meeting.
Either way, the two sides seem to have reached the ultimate impasse. The Damian Lillard situation in Portland is still foggy, with Lillard seemingly refusing to ask out. The rest of the trade packages for Simmons, whether in Minnesota or Toronto or Cleveland, don't feel like they'd make up for trading away a defensive virtuoso with top-tier court vision and athleticism while the Sixers are win-now mode.
Simmons' shortcomings on the offensive end have put the Sixers in a bind in terms of Joel Embiid's championship window, and now Simmons' desire to play elsewhere may double down on that bind. We'll see if Morey can figure out a way to turn this roadblock into a victory, but right now the situation is not exactly ideal for a team that was the 1-seed last year and seemed ticketed for the Eastern Conference Finals.