Amidst the chaotic storylines of the season-opening media availability after a summer of drama involving Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey offered a sense of stability.
In late August, Philadelphia native Jason Dumas reported that Klutch Sports was prepared to essentially leverage Maxey to get Simmons out of Philly. He tweeted:
“Source: There’s a high chance that Tyrese Maxey will be a part of any Ben Simmons trade. Rich Paul would like both of his clients out of Philadelphia. A few local organizations had planned on partnering with Maxey on some community events. They were told to cancel those plans. Paul would not like Maxey to grow roots in Philly if he could be gone.” [Twitter]
The very next day, Dumas reneged his words, tweeting “Update: Tyrese Maxey is excited about this upcoming year with the Sixers as is Rich Paul and the 76ers. Paul does not want Tyrese out of Philly. However, the Ben Simmons situations is totally separate.”
Dumas delivered accurate information on numerous reports last season. So, fans were rightfully concerned, even with the quick revocation of his own report.
“I don’t know where that came from.”
On Monday, Maxey put the rumor to rest.
“That wasn’t true. I don’t know where that came from,” the second-year guard said in his availability during Sixers Media Day. “But, it’s funny. You know, me and Rich are sitting there laughing at it and, it’s just, I love being here and I love the city and it’s great. I can’t wait to start it.”
The most important conclusion, of course, is that Maxey categorically denied the report. So, all indications suggest that he will have the opportunity to bridge the Simmons era and what’s to come. Even if the Sixers limp to the finish line amidst the drama of this season, he represents hope that the Embiid era will not go fruitless. Maxey’s encouraging developmental arc suggests a ceiling that is far higher than a typical player drafted late in the first round of his class. That hope is something the fans and franchise can hang onto, regardless of how the drama plays out.
Maxey’s denial also means that Klutch Sports is willing to maintain a relationship with the Sixers. The Simmons situation might be destined to end poorly. But, Philadelphia’s pursuit of future Klutch clients will not necessarily be sabotaged by petty feuds as a result.
The most interesting detail is quite subtle, though. Maxey indicates that he doesn’t know the origin of the rumor. He also adds that he and his representation laughed at such an idea. Unless the answer was coached, the interpretation is that Klutch did not leak that report.
So if that wasn’t their leverage play, was it the Sixers’? This saga gets more interesting by the day.