CJ McCollum drops truth bomb on Ben Simmons’ Sixers future
Much of the talk heading into the start of the NBA season remains centered on the uncertain future of Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons.
The three-time All-Star has been in the trade rumor mill ever since the Sixers’ shocking elimination at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season. The rumors have been running rampant as of late, from his reported desire to sign with a team out west to the rumored possibility of him sitting out the upcoming season.
Many have taken a side on this offseason saga. And for Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, he is backing Simmons for the sole reason of player empowerment.
In speaking during his “Pull Up With CJ McCollum” podcast, the veteran guard and National Basketball Players Association president shared his stance on why Simmons has a right to push for a trade at this stage in his career.
“I think we have seen a shift in players becoming more vocal, but I think historically, players have always been vocal about their happiness with their role, their fit or potentially wanting out,” McCollum said. “This has been happening for a very, very long time.
“I think you have to look at that situation from a player empowerment standpoint, if he is kind of evaluating how he can be the best version of himself, he has a right to do that.”
Simmons has been linked with the likes of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Portland Trail Blazers as possible trade destinations. Regardless of where Simmons ends up playing at this upcoming season, McCollum believes it will be pivotal for such a team to have players around him that can make the most out of his prowess as a pass-first guard.
“If you look at it from a pure basketball standpoint, what he is saying kinda makes sense because he is best suited to be around spacers,” McCollum said. “He is best suited to be able to get up and down and control the ball. Whether that’s the Sixers or someone else, that’s where you will get the best version of Ben Simmons and all that he has to handle.”
As mentioned, the Blazers have been listed as a possible landing spot for Simmons. And in a multitude of such hypothetical trade proposals, many see that Portland would need to part ways with McCollum in order to haul in Simmons.
McCollum is well aware of these rumors but is not letting them become a distraction before the season.
“I understand, fans have a right to their own opinion,” McCollum said. “Fans want to see their team succeed and want to see them win a championship. And those are the same things I want to see and I do not take it for granted.
“I understand what comes with the territory with trade rumors. It doesn’t really faze me. I am unbothered. I do my job to the best of my ability.”
Even as the NBA season is set to kick off in mere weeks, there still may be more to come in this saga between Simmons and the Sixers front office.