The Philadelphia 76ers knew they would be overwhelmed with questions regarding the disgruntled All-Star Ben Simmons on Monday. As the team welcomed local reporters in the practice facility for the first time since March of 2020, many were ready to dig deeper into the Ben Simmons saga.
Now, Sixers forward Tobias Harris is ready to move forward. That's not to say Harris is giving up on Simmons and is prepared for Daryl Morey to work his magic and move him officially, but the veteran knows too well that the 76ers can't dwell on the situation and rely on the three-time All-Star to walk through the doors of the Sixers' practice facility this week.
"I reached out to Ben. I've spoken to him," Harris revealed on Monday. "To be honest, I haven't been in that situation, where he's in. Yeah, I've been in trade rumors and whatnot, but that's not necessarily this situation, right? But I've done what you say quote-unquote of what you would say my part of reaching out and communicating. The situation is what it is at this point."
Harris and his teammates know they have a lot to prove this upcoming season, coming off of a disappointing finale, which was a Game 7 loss in the second round of the playoffs against the underdogs. In just three weeks, the Sixers will take the court in New Orleans to face the Pelicans for their season-opener.
Simmons, who won't report to training camp, reportedly has no intentions of showing up for his team's October 20 matchup or any other game for that matter. Sixers center Joel Embiid discussed his disappointment in the situation as a whole when he took the podium on Monday. Harris, as the team's second leader, echoed a similar sentiment.
"It's disappointing," Harris explained. "I signed back here with the expectation of a championship team. Last season was disappointing as well, losing in the second round, but I think that he's a huge part of our team. Our point guard. I was telling this to somebody the other day; Like, if you look around the NBA and just like any team, championship team, or bottom of the pack team, your starting point guard goes out the lineup, that team is kind of in a weird spot. I think that the point guard position is one of the most important positions in the NBA. So, him not going to be here, it is disappointing."
At this point, Harris, Embiid, and the rest of the Sixers tried to do what they could to salvage the situation. Last week, members of the team attempted to fly out to Los Angeles to meet with Simmons in hopes of there being some sort of resolution. Unfortunately, Simmons rejected his teammates' proposal.
What else can they do? There's only one option right now.
"We hope the situation can get resolved," Harris continued. "If it doesn't, we move on. We get this thing going because, at the end of the day, the 29 other teams that play against us do not care. They're coming to kick our butt, and we need to be ready, so that's the reality of it, really."
Harris and the Sixers are set to begin training camp on Tuesday afternoon. The 76ers won't have Ben Simmons running the point guard position with the starting lineup for the first time in years. While it's a disappointing situation to a team with championship hopes, the Sixers can no longer sit back and wait for the 25-year-old guard to show up. It's go time in Philadelphia.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.