Losers all the way down

The Sixers nor Ben Simmons are winning here.

Good morning. For the first time in the 2021-22 NBA season, let’s basketball.

The Second of May 1808, Francisco Goya, 1814

Ben Simmons participated in Sixers practice again on Tuesday as Philadelphia prepares to start its season Wednesday night. Well, “participated.”

The Sixers suspended Simmons for the season opener for conduct detrimental to the team. He did not speak to the media as planned.

Meanwhile …

So, the Sixers “won” the battle of wills with Ben Simmons by getting him to break his hold-out and return to the team before the regular season began. Except instead of the drama fading into the background when Simmons stews in SoCal, Daryl Morey’s victory now has Simmons being an active distraction at practice the day before the season opener, with fresh questions for and quotes from a Joel Embiid clearly losing patience.

For another day, Simmons’ reported vow to never play another game for the Sixers remains in place. Is Simmons a winner here? No! He’s burning his reputation further.

No one is winning here. Everyone is losing. Until he’s traded, this is mutually assured destruction. Is that worth getting maximum value for Simmons on the trade market? Hey Morey, isn’t this your dream target?

The Sixers are in bad shape with this whole conflagration. Simmons is in bad shape with this whole thing. You would think one party being in trouble would help the other party. But no! Instead, it looks like Simmons is negatively affecting his own value enough to make it even harder for the Sixers to do what Simmons is telling them to do. Meanwhile, the Sixers forcing Simmons to town looks like it’s doing the same thing! This situation was better for the Sixers when they weren’t winning the war with Simmons.

Based on reporting from Shams Charania at The Athletic, the Sixers appear to think they can break Simmons. ($)

The 76ers are not trying to move Simmons and have made clear that they will not deal him at this time, according to sources. The franchise wants Simmons to show up to practices and games, to be engaged and to perform to his capabilities. Simmons is not against playing, but he is not mentally ready yet, sources insist.

Are the Sixers going to kick him out of every practice, provide him an artisan suspension for every game? Is Simmons going to pull this childish — literally childish — stunt every day until he gets traded? Is everyone involved going to repeatedly stab themselves in the feet over and over and over until their feet look like Crocs … just to win the battle of wills?

This is absurd. Absurd.

Share Good Morning It's Basketball

Scores

Nets 104, Bucks 127Giannis Antetokounmpo looked a) possessed and b) like the best player in the world all night. Worthy effort by the Nets to erase an early huge gap; nice work by the defending champs to build it back late.

Warriors 121, Lakers 114 — Not great for L.A. that the Warriors beat them a) at STAPLES Center, b) after trailing by double-digits late in the third and c) on a night when Steph Curry shot 5/21 from the floor and 2/8 from three. Curry did have a triple-double though and got to the line more than usual. Jordan Poole, Damion Lee and Nemanja Bjelica had big scoring contributions. Excellent games from LeBron and Anthony Davis, but Russell Westbrook had one of the least effective games of his career (8-5-4 with 4 turnovers, 4/13 shooting from the floor, 0 FTAs). You don’t want to look too deeply into this, but: L.A. was -2 in 21 minutes with LeBron, AD and RWB in the game, +5 in 6 minutes with LeBron and AD on the floor without RWB, and -21 in 14 minutes where RWB was on the court with one or neither of the co-stars. Sheesh.

Schedule

Big night. All times Eastern. Games on League Pass unless otherwise noted.

Pacers at Hornets, 7
Bulls at Pistons, 7
Celtics at Knicks, 7:30, ESPN
Wizards at Raptors, 7:30
Cavaliers at Grizzlies, 8
Rockets at Timberwolves, 8
Sixers at Pelicans, 8
Magic at Spurs, 8:30
Thunder at Jazz, 9
Nuggets at Suns, 10, ESPN
Kings at Blazers, 10

Links

James Harden explains why he didn’t sign an extension with the Nets before the season and indicates he plans on signing a long-term deal next summer.

Far be it from me to defend the Sacramento Kings, especially if Luke Walton was involved in the decision in any sort of way, but for Marvin Bagley’s agent to put out a public statement trashing the team for telling the player he won’t be in the opening night rotation seems … counterproductive. Bagley hasn’t done a single thing in the NBA. Fringe players don’t get to yell and scream about playing time.

Howard Beck on whether we’ve reached the end of NBA dynasties.

Stephanie Ready shows us what a great idea it was for the Bucks’ championship rings to have removable tops.

A closer look at the ring, which can be converted into a necklace.

The Hornets will honor longtime beat writer Rick Bonnell by naming a new award after him.

Fascinating piece by Jovan Buha at The Athletic on how Serbian basketball fans feel about Nikola Jokic, the most successful individual Serbia player ever … but one who has opted out of several national team appearances. ($)

Marc Stein’s predictions for the season.

Rumors swirling that the Pelicans didn’t know about Zion Williamson’s foot surgery timeline until he showed up to camp. That’s frankly not terribly believable, but the Pelicans have shown to be an unreliable source of information on this and other issues, and the team didn’t say anything until camp opened, so …

The Mercury’s players talked to the media on Monday. They were indeed sad about losing the WNBA Finals.

And finally, in the greatest bit of pettiest since the 2016 NBA Finals and its aftermath, the Chicago Sky brought the door that Diana Taurasi broke after Game 4 to their championship parade.

Incredible. Be excellent to each other.