The Ben Simmons discussion is dominating the first few days of the Sixers' offseason: will the team choose to trade him after his disappointing postseason? Can his superstar status be salvaged? Does he still want to be here in Philly?
Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey addressed reporters on Tuesday after the Sixers' exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Hawks, and unsurprisingly he spent a lot of time handling questions about Simmons and his future with the team.
You can watch a large selection of Morey's comments about Simmons above, but the following answers really stuck out to me in terms of looking ahead to this offseason:
"REPORTER: Is there a commitment to him being on this roster next season?
"MOREY: We're committed to this group. Look, this is a really good group that played a very high level. I - obviously part of my job is to self-reflect, read what others are writing because you can learn from that, and a lot of what I'm reading I frankly don't understand. People saying the Sixers are in a bad situation. I don't choose to come here, Doc doesn't choose to come here if this is a bad situation. Really, 25 or 26 teams would love to be in our situation with an MVP-caliber top player, an All-Star, a near All-Star, great young players who are signed for the long-term, good veterans. We've got a good foundation, we've just got to do better. I have to do better, everyone has to do better.
"REPORTER: Can you tell us that Ben Simmons will be a 76er next season?
"MOREY: I love your questions, Howard. I would say we have a very strong group we believe in. There's - none of us can predict the future of what's going to happen, in any place. We love what Ben brings, we love what Joel brings, we love what Tobias brings. In terms of what's next, we're going to do what's best for the 76ers, to give us the best chance to win the championship with every single player on the roster.
"REPORTER: What you're saying is, if the possibility is there to improve the team and that means moving Ben Simmons, that you would do it?
"MOREY: I'm not addressing Ben Simmons, but any move that will help our team win the championship or improve our odds, we will look at it and do it if it makes sense to do that."
Now, Morey acknowledged during his press conference that some of what he was saying was "GM speak", and that's true. You have to expect Morey to be fairly guarded in these public answers. If Morey wants to figure out the Simmons market among interested teams, publicly claiming that he'll be back next year doesn't help, just like publicly saying the team is exploring all options with Simmons' future in particular doesn't help.
But if you'd asked Morey whether he could guarantee Joel Embiid being back next year, you probably would've heard a resounding "yes", because... duh. Simmons' case is less of a no-brainer.
So this is all situational.
Should you read a lot into Morey's comments Tuesday? Maybe not a lot, but maybe a little. The lack of certainty from the man in charge of the Sixers' entire basketball operation on Simmons' future is not something you'll normally see from decision-makers when they're talking about the No. 2 asset in the organization.
But general managers also don't just come right out and tell you their plans. So we'll just have to wait and see what trickles out, and then what Morey actually does. It should be a fun ride.