- The Philadelphia 76ers are priced at +2000 to win the 2022 NBA title following Ben Simmons’ reported return to Philadelphia
- With Philly unable to find a suitable trade for the All-Star, Simmons appeared for his league mandated Covid test
- Read below for a look at the Sixers’ title odds and where they go from here
The Sixers’ NBA Championship odds have barely moved despite the Ben Simmons chaos throughout the offseason. Following weeks of discussion about fines and inconclusive trade talks, Simmons is finally reporting to the Sixers, which has once again had a minimal impact on their odds to win it all. As of October 12th, Philly is at +2000 at DraftKings.
Philly is the great unknown in the NBA in 2021-22. It was assumed Simmons had played his final game for the franchise. Perhaps that’s still the case. Even if he never takes the hardwood in a Sixers uniform again, it’s impossible to know quite what the future holds for the organization given the lack of movement in Simmons trade discussions to date.
2021-22 NBA Championship Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+400|
|Golden State Warriors||+1100|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+1700|
Odds as of Oct 12 at DraftKings
There’s a Long Way to Go
While Simmons’ return looks like a positive step for both parties, this is far from the end of this saga. All we know is that he surprisingly appeared for a COVID-19 test on Monday.
Adrian Wojnarowski has led the way on the reporting on this saga, but even he couldn’t shed light on the situation. Wojnarowski wrote, “it’s currently unclear whether Simmons’ intentions are to merely report to team or truly rejoin the team.”
Holding out longer could have cost Simmons millions of dollars. It’s in his interest to at least appear at the team’s facility. Simmons reporting could help the Sixers’ position in trade talks, too, as it might take some of the pressure off them to make a deal and perhaps force other franchises to make a move.
Looking at any Sixers’ futures relies on a belief in how Simmons will approach this. Does he take a leaf out of James Harden’s book? Does he commit to the team, play big regular season minutes and help them win games?
Given his aggressiveness in trying to force a trade so far, the former seems more likely than the latter. It’s hard to see a situation where Simmons throws himself fully into this season. Bridges have been burned, comments from his coach and teammates don’t suggest this is a relationship which can easily be fixed.
It’s possible, though, that Simmons and Rich Paul believe playing competitive basketball is Simmons’ best chance of getting the trade he wants. If he shows the All-Star standards of the last couple of years, maybe that’s what lures a team to give up a package which is deemed acceptable by Daryl Morey and the Sixers’ hierarchy.
Stay Well Clear
That’s the best case scenario, of course. Simmons taking on the booing from Philadelphia fans, and working again with Joel Embiid and Doc Rivers, is a longshot. This looks like a guy trying to minimize the fines.
Just like how Anthony Davis sat out games as he forced his way from New Orleans and Harden made life difficult in Houston, Simmons reporting to the organization could actually make this uglier for the Sixers. It allows him to be more awkward. He was a distant problem before, but he can actively make things uncomfortable for Rivers, Embiid and others now.
This has the potential to get more unpleasant before there’s a resolution. Philly’s title odds may well lengthen in the coming weeks – there’s a good chance they get off to a slow start if Embiid takes nights off and Simmons either doesn’t play or is half-committed when he does.