Ben Simmons didn't keep in touch with too many guys from the Philadelphia 76ers' 2020-2021 roster this offseason. While players such as Matisse Thybulle, Danny Green, and Tyrese Maxey have talked to Simmons at least once throughout the summer, other players like Joel Embiid have tried and failed to get in touch with the 25-year-old All-Star.
At this point, Simmons is back with the Sixers' slightly new roster, though. After holding out from training camp and the entire preseason, Simmons returned to practice on Sunday and participated once again on Monday.
Many assumed the vibes of the team could get awkward after Simmons' return since he's gone without talking to his teammates for so long throughout the course of the offseason. However, Tyrese Maxey believes everything has gone smoothly so far.
"I mean, it's been pretty good," Maxey said after practice on Monday. "Like I just said, great vibes and good energy. You know, everybody's welcoming, and we just move on. In the practice today, he kind of went over a couple of sets or whatever. But yeah, it's great. It's great. I mean, like I've been saying, the vibes are good. You know, I'm just ready to get out there and compete with him."
Before Maxey was selected 21st overall by the 76ers during the 2020 NBA Draft, he was already familiar with Simmons since they share the same agent. Therefore, Maxey befriended Simmons before they were ever teammates. While some within the Sixers' locker room might feel differently towards the disgruntled star, Maxey made it clear that his relationship with Simmons is more important than the sport on Monday.
"Friendships are bigger than basketball," Maxey explained. "It's bigger than the profession. So, at the end of the day, a friend is a friend. And like I said, Ben's been a friend before I got drafted."
Will Simmons play for the Sixers in their season opener on Wednesday night in New Orleans? His status is currently up in the air. As he's working on getting in game shape and getting re-acclimated with the team, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers is unsure of his starting point guard's status right now. But when Simmons is ready to go, Maxey and the rest of the roster seem more than willing to welcome him back onto the floor.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.