NBA trade deadline week is here, and Ben Simmons is still a member of the Philadelphia 76ers despite not suiting up all season. While rumors involving Brooklyn Nets star James Harden sent shockwaves throughout the league over the weekend, a bucket of cold water has since been poured on those. As of right now, it doesn’t seem as if the Brooklyn Nets want to pull the trigger on a trade like that.

Furthermore, according to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, any Simmons trade before Thursday’s deadline is looking unlikely. If that’s indeed true and Simmons is still with the Sixers after the deadline, would he actually return to the team and play for a possible championship run?

Philly is still holding out hope he would play, while some around Simmons insist he’ll never play for the franchise again. Interestingly, Fischer notes that others around the disgruntled star are pushing him to play if he doesn’t get moved:

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Numerous figures affiliated with Simmons’ representation insist he’ll never dress for the franchise again, but there are people around Simmons who have recently pushed for the All-Star to retake the floor if he’s not dealt, sources said.

The Sixers have been playing excellent basketball after getting past their health issues from earlier this season, with Joel Embiid performing at an MVP level once again. Philly is right there in the mix with a bunch of other teams at the top of the Eastern Conference, and the conference looks wide open right now given the Nets’ ongoing struggles and with no other teams, including the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, separating themselves from the pack.

It would be quite the sight if Simmons were to return to play after the trade deadline, and it would be interesting to see the reception from the home crowd. But if he committed himself to the cause, he would help given his talent. This continues to be a situation to monitor over the coming week and beyond if there’s no deal.