Drama filled Sixers off-season concludes

Jackson McCrae '23, Managing Editor

Following a second-round exit at the hands of Trae Young and the Atlanta he 76ers had an… interesting off-season. Like every other team, they had a draft, re-signed and extended players, and brought in some new guys. That seems like a blasé off-season, until you add in the fact that the relationship between All-NBA player Ben Simmons and the organization was fractured. With the Ben Simmons saga threatening to derail the Sixers’ season, many wonder if the team can stay on track and complete the seemingly never-ending Process.

The Simmons Situation

It’s hard to find a place to start with Ben Simmons because it feels like Simmons has always faced immense criticism. However, the Simmons criticism turned to widespread animosity following the 76ers second round loss to the Hawks.

A series of factors in that series led to Simmons becoming public enemy #1. Maybe it was Simmons, the second-best player on a championship  contender, not shooting a SINGLE shot in the fourth quarter of three of the seven games. Maybe it was Simmons shooting 6.4 FT per game and hit 33.3%, a historic low. Maybe it was 6’11” Ben Simmons, deemed the best dunker on his team by his teammates, passing up a wide-open dunk in the fourth quarter, in a crucial moment, to dump it off to Matisse Thybulle who had two defenders in his vicinity. Maybe it was after a losing game 7, when Ben Simmons, after asked about his struggles said “How many assists did I have”, and, “What did Trae shoot?”

While the rift between Simmons and the organization started to form before he even left the locker room that night, it grew over the summer. On July 13, the 76ers officially opened up to trade offers, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors were interested early on, though Daryl Morey said the Sixers would be patient with a Ben Simmons trade. Simmons being traded on draft night was supposedly a done deal, which as we all know did not happen. After the draft the Sixers continued to search for Simmons’ deals, looking for trade packages in the ballpark of “four future first-round picks and ‘an All-Star-level player in most (but not all) scenarios’” per David Aldridge.

Soon after, the Sixers fronts office realized it would be unlikely to get the return on Simmons they thought they should, so they decided to bring him back to training camp. The very next day, Simmons said he “no longer wants to be a Sixer and does not intend to report to training camp”. About a week or two later, Daryl Morey said he would not be rushed into a Simmons trade and that Simmons would remain on the roster until he found a trade to his liking. On September 21, Ben Simmons reaffirmed he had no interest in being a 76er ever again. A week later Simmons cited Joel Embiid as a partial reason for his exit, as he reportedly didn’t believe Embiid’s play style was “conducive to the way he (Simmons) needs to play”.

In the last few weeks, the situation has escalated even further. After the Sixers fined Simmons for $8.25 million, and he realized he was going to continue to lose money, Simmons finally decided to show up. However, he has been far from engaged. He participated in one practice wearing sweatpants with a phone in his pocket and left quickly after it ended. The next practice Simmons showed up and refused to participate before Doc Rivers kicked him out. The team suspended Simmons for one game. Simmons has said that he is “not mentally ready to play” and is saying he is suffering from back tightness. The Simmons Situation seems as though it will continue on for a while, with President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey saying he is willing to spend the remaining four years of Ben Simmons contract trying to trade him.

NBA Draft

Even during the Simmons tantrum, life in the NBA goes on, and the NBA Draft took place on July 29th. The 76ers had three picks, No. 28, No. 50, and No. 53. It’s hard to judge the new talent because all we’ve seen from them is a short stint in the summer league, and we haven’t even seen that from some of the new faces.

Pick 28: Jaden Springer G Tennessee: Jaden Springer is a 6’3”, 202-pound guard from Tennessee University. Springer looked very underwhelming in the summer league, but he’s only 18 years old so it’s not a massive concern. Springer is a talented two-way player, showing flashes of scoring at will on the offensive end and playing lockdown defense on the other end. While Springer is a good player, other guards like Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton will make it hard for him to get meaningful minutes this year, and he’ll likely spend a good amount of time on the bench

Pick 50: Filip Petrusev C Serbia: Petrusev is a 6’11”, 235-pound center from Serbia. Petrusev garnered buzz in Serbia as a teenager before moving to America in 2016 to attend high school. He later attended Gonzaga and won WCC Player of the Year in his sophomore year. Last summer he returned to Serbia to play in the ABA League… and won the MVP. Petrusev is the steal of the draft, as he can move with the ball, finish around the rim, both off the drive and in the post, and he has fantastic shooting touch. Defensively he is a decent rim protector, but he needs some help in that department. The biggest downside to Petrusev is his contract. He still has another year on his contract in Serbia so he won’t play in Philadelphia this year, but will dominate the ABA for another year.

Pick 53: Charles Bassey C Western Kentucky: Bassey is, funnily enough, a 6’11”, 235-pound center, just like Petrusev. Bassey is a very productive post player and great rebounder and interior defender. Perhaps what is most intriguing about Bassey is the improved three-point shooting he showed in his last year at Western Kentucky. If his jumper is legit, his ability to space the floor as well as being a punisher down low is a combo that could earn him some minutes on the main squad, but he’ll mostly be a G-League player, much like Paul Reed last year


The Sixers started free agency with an unexpected move, signing center Andre Drummond to a veteran’s minimum deal for one year. Drummond has been a beast in years past and is a very good backup for Joel. While Drummond and Embiid have a confrontational past, it seems to be behind them and recent reports suggest that they are getting along well

Two days later the 76ers signed former Jazz forward Georges Niang. Niang was a fantastic signing, as something the Sixers lacked last year was a backup power forward, and the shooting touch of Niang is crucial for a second unit that didn’t exactly shoot lights out.

The next day it was Danny Green who got paid, signing a two-year, $20,000,000 contract to stay in Philly. The sharpshooter played a big role for the Sixers last year, leading the league in corner three-pointers made, and playing lockdown defense.

The last big signing for the 76ers was the resigning of Furkan Korkmaz, bringing him back on a three-year, $15,000,000 contract. The Turkish Terror’s sharpshooting was a major boost for the Sixers’ bench at times, and bringing him back was a decision that will help the Sixers in the future