Philadelphia 76ers star guard Ben Simmons admitted he was glad to stay in Philadelphia and not get traded for 2018 NBA MVP James Harden. Harden, who wanted to get out of Houston since the offseason, was traded to the Brooklyn Nets this week.
For the past few weeks, the Sixers were the frontrunner to acquire Harden but ultimately the Rockets accepted the Nets' offer over the Sixers' offer that was fronted on Simmons. In his first game since the Harden trade, Simmons dropped a game-high as he had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in a 125-108 win over the Miami Heat.
"I mean, this a business," Simmons said, when asked if he was happy the Harden discussions are behind him, per ESPN. "Things like that happen. Only thing I can control is, you know, how I approach my workouts, the games and my day-to-day thing.
So, you know, I'm just trying to be professional and to do the right thing and help my team get wins."
Simmons downplayed being mentioned in trade talks
The Sixers were willing to trade Simmons for Harden but the guard didn't want to speak negatively about the situation.
"I come in here and work every day," Simmons said. "So my job is to get better and get wins -- all the other stuff I can't control. As I said before, all I can control is how I come in with my mindset, with practices and on the floor, and I had a great time tonight.
I'm blessed. I get to play the game I love every day at the highest level in the world. ... There's far worse things going on the world, so, you know, I'm in a blessed position. If you told me I would never play the game again, that'd be a different story."
Meanwhile, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers praised Simmons for the way he delivered against the Heat. Rivers hopes more games like this from Simmons will be the case. "I thought tonight is who he has to be every night," Rivers said.
"I love the way he played. I loved how he played under control. Didn't force it, took gaps when they were there. ... He was a presence on the floor for us, and not just on the offensive end but on the defensive end, as well. That takes us to a different level when he plays like that."