Insiders Debate: Could Simmons Return To Sixers After Deadline?

Ben Simmons to get a "standing ovation" in Philadelphia? ESPN Insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, both well-connected on the behind-the-scenes goings-on with Simmons, asked the question: Could Simmons return to the Philadelphia 76ers' lineup after Feb. 10th if he is not traded? 

Wojnarowski said on his Woj Pod podcast today that if Joel Embiid and Doc Rivers were to reach out to fans, urging them to welcome Simmons back with open arms, it could go pretty well.

He's played there enough to know what it's like when you're playing well. He knows if you show people in that city that if you're willing to play hard, and really compete...  

There's such a feeling in that building right now... I'd bet you that (in his) opening night there, he'd get a standing ovation.

Shelburne doesn't seem so convinced, clarifying that "it's become... a lot of trust issues that have happened... He was in LA all summer and no one came to see him... And there was a sense of 'why don't they just... show up at the gym?' 

"I think a lot of it is because it's gone on so long."

So could he return after the trade deadline if he isn't traded? Woj says he believes the Sixers still hold out a ray of hope, but Shelburne says "no, he's really dug in."

One final note in Shelburne's story on Ben Simmons' fines piling up to unprecedented proportions that could be a bit of a sign, is that sources say that "for however much he says he doesn't want to be in Philadelphia, for all the slights -- real and perceived -- he holds against the franchise, Simmons watches every game."