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The Philadelphia 76ers is undeniably the focal point of conversations in this offseason, headlined by the disgruntled Ben Simmons who drew a huge amount of mixed reactions in the NBA landscape. For the past several weeks, the former number one overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft notoriously forced his way out of the City of Brotherly Love — cutting connections with every single personnel in the whole organization while expressing sheer unwillingness to suit up as a Sixer for his 5th season as a pro.

Yet Simmons, who didn’t participate in his team’s training camp and three preseason games so far, shocked the basketball world by finally returning on Monday without notifying someone in the franchise that he’ll come back. As per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the 25-year-old notified GM Elton Brand that he showed up at the Wells Fargo Center just to fulfill the COVID-19 mandates.

Before the opening tip tonight of that Brooklyn-Philly preseason game, I’m told that Elton Brand, who is the Sixers’ General Manager and works with Daryl Morey, Doc Rivers gets a text message essentially saying, ‘Hey, Ben’s outside the building. He needs to get in to come take his COVID test’ and that’s how the Sixers found out that Ben Simmons, after two weeks away in the preseason, had returned to Philadelphia. He took his COVID test tonight, and he is back. He is back with the organization right now.

– Adrian Wojnarowski

As it is, things around Philly may seem to recover. Simmons will always be a vital cog that runs this squad — a formidable second star alongside franchise player Joel Embiid. For now, convincing the two-time All-star to stick around and continue to compete with this well-rounded 76ers squad is a vital plan. Erasing the drama and continuing to build a winning culture will always be top priorities, especially for a ball club that is considered as a strong contender right now for an NBA crown.

According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, Sixers are taking extra steps to mend what’s broken with Simmons: 

That physical, and Wednesday’s first practice session, are just the beginning of several phases the Sixers have planned for reintegrating Simmons into their team environment. The team has individual film and weight training sessions planned. Philadelphia has consulted with various sports psychologists in the previous weeks, and the team believes it has bolstered the resources Simmons has available to improve his game, particularly by hiring a new shooting and skills coach. It would seem likely that Philadelphia will make a concerted effort to clear the air with Simmons and his teammates, particularly Joel Embiid.

Honing Simmons and addressing his issues in a peaceful manner reflects a vision for Philadelphia — a humbling experience for them moving ahead. 

The time on the countdown for the opening of a new season is slowly dropping to zero, and seeing the Sixers finally solving the most stressful saga of their own gives a huge relief for their believers who have been longing for basketball immortality since 1983.