Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it’s out. This idiom speaks to a situation where the action done – the toothpaste being squeezed out – changes the dynamics of the topic at hand. For some in the Ben Simmons saga, that action may have been Ben turning down a wide-open dunk in a pivotal playoff game.
I would imagine for Ben, the friction may have come when the 2016 NBA Draft first overall selection was included in trade talks for former Houston Rocket, James Harden. Wherever you chose to start the story from in your narrative, things openly took a turn in the offseason when the Ben Simmons trade rumors were no longer a behind-the-scenes phone call or two between Daryl Morey and other NBA GMs. More so than telling the public Ben was for sale, you explicitly told Ben he was for sale. Ben’s current stance with the Sixers, is valid and expected. This – after all we got this summer- is not:
It is a general manager’s job to assess the trade market for players they deem tradeable. Often, we – the public, don’t get to hear about these conversations until they pick up steam. So, like most news in sports, if it gets to ‘us’ it’s because someone wants us to know. Where Philly brass had the opportunity to be PC about it all, give the usual line that Ben is a member of the 76ers, yada, yada, ya; they didn’t. Instead, Daryl was outchea asking for the world. Which, sure, Ben – in theory – is that caliber of player. But, we all saw the playoffs and if you weren’t done with him, we wouldn’t be in the situation where you’re looking to trade him after recently extending him.
We’ve seen this movie plenty of times. Even with Ben’s lack of leverage, when a player wants out bad enough eventually he gets his wish. I wrote about a CJ-Ben deal before, yet word on the street is Morey is holding out to see what happens with Portland’s other star guard Damian Lillard. Even if Neil and Daryl had the framework of a deal already in place, to be executed around the trade deadline, what do you say publicly to the Sixer fanbase and locker room that doesn’t want Simmons back in Philly? I get that GMs want to win every deal but sometimes the hand you have, is the hand you have. If the Sixers aren’t going to change how they play Ben – perhaps another tube of Crest the Sixers can’t get back – then it’s probably wise to take the best deal currently on the table and move on, no matter what Ben thinks of the destination.