Ben Simmons’ name is inescapable for anyone with the faintest interest in the Sixers at the moment.
It was inevitable that Danny Green’s Zoom press conference Thursday would not be limited exclusively to questions about the veteran wing’s decision to re-sign with the Sixers in free agency.
Green also spoke at length about Simmons, the 25-year-old three-time All-Star who’s been the subject of omnipresent trade rumors this offseason.
According to Green, he last talked with Simmons “probably around the 4th of July weekend.” Green noted he’s been rather busy — he’s getting married in two days — and plans to check in with Simmons soon.
“I will FaceTime him in the near, coming weeks, after this wedding is over,” he said. “And I’ll be out in L.A. after that — I have my house there — and go check up on him. But we’ve talked briefly, just to check in and see how he was, see how things were going, say, ‘Happy 4th of July, enjoy your family’ and that type of thing. So it was nothing deep in that conversation.”
The 34-year-old Green was hopeful that some time away from the spotlight might be beneficial for Simmons, who was widely criticized after making 33.3 percent of his foul shots in the Sixers’ second-round playoff loss to the Hawks.
“I think with Ben and his personality, I think the right move was to give him some space early on and let him just breathe a little bit — let him adjust to what’s going on and what’s happening around him — and hopefully have him refresh, get a new frame of mind and then have a conversation later on,” Green said. “He’s had that time now. He’s been in L.A., he’s been relaxed. There’s so many other things that have been going on.
“The media is not thinking about just him anymore, about his wrongs or his mishaps or his flaws. They’ve had the Olympics going on. The good and the bad of social media is … there’s always going to be somebody that’s going to do something bad or good to where they’re going to forget about it. Hopefully that time has given him time to heal. It’s not about him healing physically, it’s more mentally and emotionally to where he can refresh himself, reset, come in and reidentify himself. And I’ll hopefully have that conversation with him.”
Though other matters have indeed captured attention in the basketball world, Simmons has remained very prominent, and not just in the Philadelphia marketplace. If he’s traded before the 2021-22 season begins, fans will be eager to dissect Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey’s dealmaking. If Simmons is still a Sixer, his comments to reporters, body language, practice habits, in-game decisions and shooting form all appear potential targets of intense scrutiny.
In Green’s mind, the notion of Simmons’ reidentifying himself is relevant however this saga plays out.
“I usually use that advice for people that get traded, because we all hate to move as adults regardless,” he said. “But people look at it as a bad thing, being traded. I think you’ve got to look at the positives. Another team wants you, and there’s an opportunity for you to kind of reinvent yourself, reidentify yourself.
“And that’s maybe why you hear the rumors of him wanting to go somewhere else or the team wanting to move him. Maybe he felt like he couldn’t reidentify himself here; he could do it better in another city. But that’s not always true. You can do that in the city that you play in. You can come back a different player. You have more time off this summer to work on some things, reset your mindset, reset yourself and hopefully come back a stronger player or different player. That would be my advice to him, of course.
“But to all players that have gotten traded, I tell them, ‘You take this opportunity to reidentify yourself, reinvent yourself.’ In this system, in this organization, they don’t know you. You can be a totally different person. I can go somewhere else and try to be a ball handler. Not saying I would do that, but I could show that I can do more in that system. They might say, ‘Hey, we might use Danny Green in certain actions where he can handle the ball.’ Hopefully (Simmons) stays with us, but if he doesn’t, he can reinvent himself and show that he can shoot the mid-range, or become a better free throw shooter — or whatever it may be. You can say that you came back and this guy can actually do this, bring this to the table, and maybe his frame of mind is different in that atmosphere.”