And, as expected, the City of Brotherly Love greeted Simmons with a reception that wouldn’t be confused for a hero’s welcome.
From the moment he stepped onto the floor at the Wells Fargo Center, Simmons, who was traded to Brooklyn in a package for James Harden in February, was on the receiving end of boos from nearly every corner of the arena. The strong response began when the 26-year-old point guard led the Nets out of the visitors tunnel for warm-ups.
The energy surrounding the reaction reflected what was a tumultuous end to Simmons’s tenure in Philadelphia, where he spent his first four seasons.
The hostility only appeared to amplify during pre-game introductions as the public address announcer could hardly be heard introducing Simmons.
Tuesday night’s game added another compelling chapter to what has been an interesting 2022-23 season for Simmons as he gets re-acclimated after missing all of last season with mental and physical health issues.
As the season wanes on, Simmons figures to play a big role for Brooklyn, and could be in for a signature outing playing on a court he’s all too familiar with.
Simmons’s pre-game experience wasn’t all bad, as some fans were eager to see him prior to the game. The former No. 1 draft pick graciously obliged those supporters by greeting fans, taking a few pictures and signing a couple autographs, a pleasant sign of normalcy amid an otherwise tough reception.
In the end, though, it 76ers fans got the last last, with Philadelphia winning, 115-106. Simmons finished the game with 11 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds, three steals and three blocks.
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