Maxey says he has ‘nothing but love’ for Simmons before Sixers-Nets meeting originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Even on teams that cherish unity, there’s never a single reaction to a trade.
It seems safe, however, to characterize the Sixers as collectively pleased thus far with the Feb. 10 deal that brought James Harden to Philadelphia and sent Ben Simmons to Brooklyn.
Simmons (return to competition reconditioning/back soreness) is out for Thursday night’s Sixers-Nets matchup at Wells Fargo Center, though he’s expected to be on Brooklyn’s bench. He’s yet to make his debut for the Nets, who sit eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers are second and have scored 125.4 points per game with Harden in the lineup. They’re 5-0 in his appearances.
There are aspects of Simmons’ return that some Sixers players might prefer not to discuss with complete transparency in a public forum. The ultimate result of Simmons’ trade request — Harden being their teammate — isn’t one of them.
“It is what it is,” Georges Niang said following practice Wednesday at the team’s facility in Camden, New Jersey. “We have who we have in this locker room. I think we’re happy with who we have in this locker room. I’m just going to leave it at that. It is what it is. Who knows what he did or what he had to do to get himself right. Whether that’s right or wrong or indifferent, it’s not my place to speak on. Obviously I have my thoughts about that.
“If he’s happy where he’s at, then let him be happy. We’re happy that we have guys in this locker room that want to be here.”
Tyrese Maxey is in a unique position with Simmons, a fellow Klutch Sports client. Before the Sixers took Maxey with the 21st pick in the 2020 draft, the Kentucky product knew Simmons through summer workouts in Los Angeles. The 21-year-old became the Sixers’ starting point guard this season — and turned into one of the league’s most improved players — when Simmons held out of training camp.
“No, I haven’t talked much to him,” Maxey said. “I’m sure I’ll talk to him tomorrow. I’m just happy…