76ers taking big Ben Simmons risk that Nets shut down with Kyrie Irving

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PHILADELPHIA — The NBA’s 2 biggest melodramas played retired connected the aforesaid Wells Fargo Center tribunal Friday night, arsenic the Nets and 76ers, some title contenders, played without their All-Star guards and biggest headaches.

The Nets’ Kyrie Irving is retired due to the fact that he has steadfastly refused to get vaccinated for COVID-19, and the 76ers’ Ben Simmons isn’t playing due to the fact that helium got successful his feelings erstwhile his leader asked him to enactment connected his craft.

Simmons — who had been holding retired for a commercialized past returned lone to get thrown retired of signifier for being a distraction — showed up astatine Friday morning’s shootaround and told the team helium wasn’t “prepared mentally” to play.

Nobody is going to triumph retired of this full atrocious situation, not players, teams oregon fans. That’s the acquisition the Nets rapidly learned with Irving that the 76ers haven’t figured retired yet.

“No, I don’t deliberation we’re successful that [stage]. I don’t privation to look retired [down the road]. I lone tin look now. That [Irving] concern is truthful antithetic than this situation,” 76ers caput manager Doc Rivers said earlier the Nets’ 114-109 victory.

“I deliberation they’re akin [situations] successful 1 way,” echoed Nets caput manager Steve Nash, “or dissimilar successful others.”

76ersBen SimmonsAP

Yeah, dissimilar successful a fig of ways. Irving is astatine home, seldom a taxable of treatment successful Brooklyn, and ever has been publically supported by teammates erstwhile helium is.

Simmons has been astatine signifier each time since passing his COVID-19 test, was intelligibly the taxable of Joel Embiid’s displeasure, and volition get lambasted by the notoriously pugnacious Philadelphia fans whenever helium shows his face. He drew chants of, “F–k you Simmons” connected Wednesday erstwhile the NHL Flyers played astatine home, and helium wasn’t adjacent there.

To accidental it has been a distraction has been an understatement. The 76ers look to beryllium banking connected the gathering Friday greeting arsenic a measurement toward reconciliation. And it mightiness good be. But the imaginable for distraction is dangerous, and the Nets chopped that disconnected by shelving Irving until he’s all-in and available.

This isn’t astir either squad trading their All-Star. This is astir 1 squad putting the play to furniture earlier it became an adjacent bigger problem.

“Look, it’s lose-lose immoderate mode you play it,” Annette Bening warned Denzel Washington successful “The Siege.” “You privation to suffer small oregon suffer big?”

Nets wide manager Sean Marks and squad proprietor Joe Tsai took ego retired of the equation, and opted to suffer little. When Irving dug successful and refused the vaccine — making himself ineligible to play astatine Barclays Center — they sent him location altogether connected Oct. 12.

The Nets realized having a road-only part-time subordinate would’ve been untenable successful presumption of distraction, chemistry and cohesion. Two games into the regular-season, the 76ers haven’t figured that retired yet.

And they’re sounding similar dilatory learners.

“This could beryllium 4 years,” 76ers president of hoops operations Daryl Morey said Thursday connected 97.5 The Fanatic. “The conditions that I’m pointing retired to you don’t change.

“Unless Ben Simmons is traded for a difference-maker, we’re successful the premier of Joel’s career. We person to get backmost either Ben Simmons playing good for us, who helps america triumph the championship, oregon we person to get backmost a difference-maker for Ben Simmons. Or this could beryllium 4 years from present and we’re inactive like, ‘Hey, we took the champion changeable astatine it we could.’ ”

NetsKyrie IrvingAP

Four years? Of this? Simmons could bash arsenic overmuch harm to this squad arsenic a atrocious president to a country, sulking and sinking the Sixers from the inside.

Simmons didn’t play Friday, but the 76ers had to adhd aggregate information measures to support players from irate fans, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

There’s a caller obstruction overlooking the players’ entrance, keeping fans from getting adjacent to players and looking down — oregon expressing their choler successful different ways.

It strains credulity to deliberation the 76ers are going to get Simmons to bargain backmost in, and that this won’t person a antagonistic interaction connected the squad if he’s inactive successful a snit.

Clearly Simmons’ behaviour is unacceptable, but Morey apt overplayed his manus successful demanding a king’s ransom successful a imaginable trade. The 76ers tin find takers. It’ll instrumentality a tiny occurrence to find 1 consenting to conscionable Morey’s precocious demands.

And however overmuch harm tin Simmons bash until then?

It’s a lose-lose situation. At this point, the Sixers are risking losing big.