As the Philadelphia 76ers participated in a Monday afternoon shootaround in preparation for the third preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets, new reports regarding the Ben Simmons saga hit the net.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Ben Simmons' agent Rich Paul has been in contact with the 76ers. Per Wojnarowski's report, both parties were working on a potential reunion between Simmons and the Sixers as trade talks have stalled.
While it seemed a return was possible sooner than later, there were no concrete details on when Simmons might return to Philadelphia and show up ready to play for the Sixers. Hours later, the star guard surprised the franchise, though.
As the Sixers were wrapping up the third quarter of their third preseason matchup against the Nets, Wojnarowski offered another update on the Simmons saga. According to the ESPN Insider, Simmons arrived in Philly and took a COVID-19 test that the NBA required due to health and safety protocol.
Then roughly two hours later, Wojnarowski revealed that not only did Simmons fly back to Philly on Monday, but he showed up to the Wells Fargo Center without making the team aware that he was coming.
Several Sixers, including Joel Embiid, Furkan Korkmaz, and Isaiah Joe, reacted to Simmons' shocking arrival following Monday's victory over the Nets. While Simmons' holdout has created an unwanted distraction around the 76ers, one message was consistent on Monday night; the Sixers believe they are better with Simmons on the floor rather than without him.
Two weeks ago, Doc Rivers and 76ers players made it clear they would welcome the three-time All-Star back to the team with open arms despite everything that's transpired over the last few months.
Simmons stuck to his plan and continued to hold out from the Sixers. However, at this point, it seems Simmons might have a change of heart. Right now, his intentions are unclear -- but his surprising arrival to the arena on Monday night is a step in the right direction for the Sixers.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.