Being with the Philadelphia 76ers organization since the 2016 NBA Draft, veteran sharpshooter Furkan Korkmaz knows Ben Simmons as well as anybody within the organization. As they debuted during the same season, Korkmaz has spent a lot of time playing alongside Simmons.
Early on in his career, Korkmaz wanted a fresh start. After he failed to receive considerable playing time early on, the Turkish standout requested a trade. Ultimately, he never got it. Although he had a chance to get a fresh start following Philly's 2018-2019 run, Korkmaz returned to the organization on a two-year deal.
After honoring those two seasons, he earned himself another contract with the Sixers this past free agency. These days, Korkmaz is committed to the 76ers after wanting out early on. However, the same can't be said for Philly's former first-overall pick.
Ben Simmons requested a trade following the Sixers' Game 7 playoff loss against the Atlanta Hawks last season. At this point, he has yet to receive his wish. As Simmons saw the fines rack up after each practice and preseason game he missed, he eventually returned to the organization.
On Sunday, the Sixers star made his practice debut with the team for the 2021-2022 offseason. Following the session, Korkmaz revealed how happy he was to have the 25-year-old point guard back around.
"It was good to have him back. Personally, I missed being on the same floor with him," Korkmaz said after practice. "Personally, I'm happy to see him back here on the court. I hope we have more work to do."
For the last few weeks, there's been a lot of talk about how Sixers veterans would react to Simmons' return if he were to show face in the locker room again. On the other hand, many were curious to know if Simmons would issue his teammates an apology for how everything transpired over the last couple of months. According to Korkmaz, it was business as usual on Sunday morning.
"He just showed up, you know?" Korkmaz explained. "He just showed up, and we just talked like 'Hey, how are you? What's up? Welcome back.' It wasn't like something special, which we expected from him, or which he expected us to say something. It was just like, 'Hey, how are you and what's up?' All professional, you know? It was just like being a pro from our side and from his side."
It's unclear if Simmons will make his season debut this week. While the team made it clear they would like to have him back on the floor with them, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers remains unsure whether Simmons will be in the lineup for the season opener on Wednesday night or not, citing that the 25-year-old guard isn't in game shape yet.
Regardless of what kind of shape he's currently in, Korkmaz confirmed the All-Star still looked solid in his first practice back. "He looks good [on the floor]," Korkmaz finished. "He's in shape. You know Ben. He takes care of his body a lot. He plays hard. He played fast. We know that -- but he was good."
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.