ben simmons nets 76ers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022-23 NBA regular season didn’t go how Ben Simmons was hoping it would. But, he’s been putting in work to make the upcoming year a better one with the Nets despite trade rumors continuing to swirl around him. If he had a say in it all, though, he has a preferred destination: returning to Philadelphia to play for the 76ers.

No, we’re serious. He really said that. Here’s the full quote from his sit-down with Marcus J. Spears of Andscape:

I’ll always have love for Philly. People always ask me like, ‘If you were to get traded again where you want it to be?’ I always say, ‘Just Philly. Philly is a second home to me.’ And in time, you learn and grow as people.

Simmons also went on to say the following:

I don’t really have anything bad to say about Philly. It was a crazy situation at the end, but it is what it is.

A crazy situation, indeed. After yet another disappointing showing in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, Simmons held out of training camp the following season while demanding a trade.

He never actually suited up for Philly again before being involved in a five-player deal that sent Simmons to Brooklyn and James Harden to the Sixers. He was working on his mental health during that time, and a back injury prevented him from playing for the Nets at all that year.

His 2022-23 campaign was also hindered by injuries, as he was limited to just 42 games. Simmons finished with averages of 6.9 points, 6.3 total rebounds, and 6.1 assists per contest. We’ll find out soon enough if this new-and-improved version of him will be something head coach Jacque Vaughn can get excited about, too.

The Nets were reportedly going to shop the former top overall pick on the trade market this summer. However, there hasn’t been a peep about anything. Maybe Brooklyn tried and hasn’t gotten anywhere, or no effort to ship him out of town has actually taken place.

Now it looks like we’ll find out if his vow to “dominate people” this year will come true in New York City. Either way, I don’t think a reunion with the 76ers is on the cards anytime soon. At least, that’s if Philly fans have anything to say about it.

You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.