The Philadelphia 76ers will host the Brooklyn Nets tonight, which means Ben Simmons will return to the city and team he spurned for the first time since the trade deadline. Simmons is not playing, of course; he's still working on his back injury and inevitable conditioning issues that come along with not appearing in a game in nine months. But he'll be there.
Not-so-coincidentally, Ryen Russilo had Danny Green on today's episode of his eponymous podcast with The Ringer. Green is a pretty honest player when making media appearances and this was no different. He explained to Russilo what was going through the minds of Simmons' teammates throughout his disastrous trade debacle. Green said that he tried to reach out to Simmons over the summer when rumors of the discontent first arose and didn't get a response. Green then said he thinks Simmons might've changed his number by that point (at the 16:15 mark of the pod):
"I think we all tried at different times to reach out... I did reach out, I don't know if his number had changed, I think his number had changed by that point, I don't know. But I reached out on a personal level and said, 'Look, man, we can turn this thing around. Let's just sit down, have a talk.' I sent a couple different text messages at different times throughout a couple of weeks, seeing where he was at."
So it sounds like Simmons changed his number, and if he did so before showing up to camp in October, he didn't tell anybody. Should that be true, it makes the report Simmons was upset that Doc Rivers didn't come visit after Simmons ignored his texts and phone calls even funnier. The man may have made himself impossible to reach and then was upset they didn't just show up at his house anyway. Wild stuff!
Green also said he and his teammates would openly speculate about the Simmons' trade throughout the season and were ultimately surprised they managed to land as big a star as James Harden. The Sixers went through truly surreal experience. Their first chance for revenge comes tonight.