Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons‘ name has popped up frequently in trade rumors in recent weeks. Simmons has been mentioned as the centerpiece in a potential trade between the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets — a deal that would also include James Harden, who has made it abundantly clear that he no longer wants to be a member of the Rockets. There have been conflicting reports about whether or not the Sixers have actually made Simmons available in any trade talks, but Simmons has heard the rumors either way, and on Tuesday he addressed them.
“I come in every day, take it a day at a time, ready to work,” Simmons said regarding the rumors on a Zoom call with media members. “Every time I got a Sixers uniform on, I’m representing the Sixers. My mentality never changes. I’m here to win a championship. That goal is never going to change… I know things are always going to be said in the media, and rumors and things like that, but my goal is to come in every day and get better and help the team that I’m on win a championship.”
In addition to Simmons, the Sixers’ other All-Star, Joel Embiid, also responded to the rumors by basically brushing them off.
“We’re focused on how we can get better as a team,” Embiid stated. “We got a great opportunity to go out and compete for the whole thing and that’s what we’re focused on. All the outside noise, you can’t control it. You got to control whatever you can. We want to win the whole thing and that’s what we intend to and we’re pushing ourselves to do so.”
Publicly, the Sixers have been adamant that they have no plans to part with Simmons, who was an All-Defense First Team selection last season. In recent sessions with media members, Sixers coach Doc Rivers has emphasized that the rumors aren’t coming from the Sixers‘ side of things. Daryl Morey, Philadelphia’s new president of basketball operations, also publicly declared that the Sixers wouldn’t be trading Simmons.
“We are not trading Ben Simmons — he is an important part of our future,” Morey said in a statement earlier this week. So, Simmons seems safe for now. Plus, as good as Harden is, there’s a legitimate argument to be made that moving forward, Simmons could be more the more valuable player.
There’s the age difference — Harden is 31, while Simmons is still just 24, and the contract comparison — Harden has just two more team-controlled years on his current contract, while Simmons is under team control for the next five seasons. Plus, as good as he is, Harden has likely already hit his ceiling as a player at this point in time, while Simmons’ vast skill set is still developing. In two or three years he could be a much better player than he is today, and he’s already a two-time All-Star and a First Team All-Defensive player.
As a player, Simmons is certainly employing the right attitude when it comes to trade rumors. He can’t control what’s said about him, but he can control his on-court performance, and he appears poised for a big season.