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Apparently That Wasn’t a Phone in Ben Simmons’s Pocket During Practice

In Thursday’s Hot Clicks: what Shams Charania says was really in the disgruntled Sixers star’s pocket, the wild finish to Knicks-Celtics and more.

At least he isn’t that disinterested

When Ben Simmons returned to Sixers practice this week, he looked exactly how you would have expected. After spending all offseason as the subject of trade rumors and reportedly insisting that he won’t play another game for Philadelphia, Simmons reluctantly showed up to the team facility after a weeks-long holdout. The team had fined him at least $680,000 for missing three preseason games and placed $8.5 million of his salary in escrow in anticipation of docking him even more pay.

Simmons practiced with the team for the first time Sunday, which by all accounts was uneventful. But it was Monday’s practice, with television cameras present, that made headlines. In video captured by NBC Sports Philadelphia, eagle-eyed viewers spotted something in the pocket of Simmons’s sweatpants. It looked kind of like a cellphone, and plenty of media outlets ran with the story.

Nothing Simmons has done in the past few months has indicated that he’s beyond checking his texts during practice, so it didn’t seem entirely out of the question that he’d drift through drills with his phone flopping around in his pocket.

But, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, it wasn’t a phone in his pocket. It was his practice jersey.

In retrospect, Charania’s explanation makes a lot more sense. That white thing sticking out of his pocket looks too small to be a phone screen and much more like a patch on the hem of a jersey.

But still, if you intended to give any effort whatsoever in practice, you wouldn’t stuff an entire jersey into the pocket of your pants. And Simmons didn’t even bother to pretend to be engaged in practice Tuesday when he was reportedly thrown out for refusing to sub into a drill.

Simmons and the Sixers appear to be at an impasse. He can’t make it any clearer that he doesn’t want to be there, but the team is refusing to send him elsewhere. Simmons is apparently employing the George Costanza strategy of trying to get fired on purpose. Don’t be surprised if he shows up to practice with increasingly ridiculous objects stuffed into his pockets: a jersey, a phone, his wallet and eventually a Wawa hoagie. 

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