Although Ben Simmons has arguably become one of the NBA’s elite point guards after just two seasons in the league, a recent story from the New York Daily News suggested that he wasn’t exactly untouchable in the eyes of Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand in the lead-up to the February trade deadline. However, it didn’t take long before the Sixers vehemently denied that rumor, as well as others that were discussed in the aforementioned report.
In a report published by the Daily News on Tuesday, Chris Sheridan cited an anonymous source, who claimed that Brand told the Sixers’ ownership “sometime before the trade deadline” that the team had to consider the idea of trading Simmons elsewhere. According to Sheridan’s source, Brand felt that the trade was necessary because Simmons was “simply not coachable” and was the type of player who performs well in the regular season but fails to produce in the postseason.
As it turned out, Brand’s recommendation was “immediately shut down,” as ownership reportedly informed him that Simmons and center Joel Embiid were “untouchable,” even if it meant a chance at landing New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis.
Furthermore, another unnamed source told Sheridan that the Australian point guard allegedly spent the previous night partying when the Sixers listed him as unavailable for a March game due to what was claimed to be a “stomach virus.” This, Sheridan wrote, was similar to how the Sixers would supposedly come up with fictitious conditions for franchise icon Allen Iverson during the times he’d show up for pregame practices “hung over” after a night of drinking and gambling.
— NBA (@NBA) April 16, 2019
In a follow-up report published on Heavy, Sheridan wrote on Wednesday that the Philadelphia 76ers vice president of communications Dave Sholler took to Twitter and denied the claims made on the New York Daily News report, calling the piece one of the most “irresponsible hack jobs” he has seen in his time working in the industry. He accused Sheridan of making references to conversations that “never happened” and concluded his post by saying the report is a “steaming pile of trash.”
“Sholler’s inability to do so with dignity in response to the New York Daily News story concerning internal turmoil within the Philadelphia 76ers was a dead giveaway that the story was right on the money,” Sheridan wrote in response.
“When you have been covering the NBA for 32 years, you learn to see a few telltale signs.”
Amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the team, the Philadelphia 76ers are entering Game 3 of their first-round playoff matchup against the Brooklyn Nets with the series tied, 1-1, and heading to the Nets’ home court at the Barclays Center. As noted by Fox Sports Australia, Simmons was one of the top players in the Sixers’ Game 2 win against the Nets, registering his second career playoff triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists.