In his first game after ultimately not being included in a trade for James Harden, All-Star Ben Simmons had a triple-double -- 10 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists -- in 34 minutes Thursday to lead the 76ers to a 125-108 victory over the Miami Heat in Philadelphia.
Afterward, he called trade talks just part of life as an NBA player.
"I mean, this a business," Simmons said, when asked if he was happy the Harden discussions are behind him after the 2018 NBA MVP was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a deal that was made official Thursday. "Things like that happen. Only thing I can control is, you know, how I approach my workouts, the games and my day-to-day thing. So, you know, I'm just trying to be professional and to do the right thing and help my team get wins."
Philadelphia -- whose president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, acquired Harden as general manager of the Houston Rockets in the fall of 2012 -- and Brooklyn were the leading contenders to land the superstar guard for the past several weeks.
Ultimately, though, Houston chose a package from Brooklyn that featured a boatload of draft picks over one from Philadelphia fronted by Simmons.
When asked Thursday if he felt a need to discuss what happened with Morey or anyone else in management, Simmons said he can only control what he can control.
"I come in here and work every day," Simmons said. "So my job is to get better and get wins -- all the other stuff I can't control. As I said before, all I can control is how I come in with my mindset, with practices and on the floor, and I had a great time tonight. I'm blessed. I get to play the game I love every day at the highest level in the world. ... There's far worse things going on the world, so, you know, I'm in a blessed position. If you told me I would never play the game again, that'd be a different story."
When asked if he was happy to still be in Philadelphia, Simmons added, "Of course."
Earlier, Sixers coach Doc Rivers had lauded Simmons' defensive effort on a night he also had three steals in addition to his triple-double.
"I thought tonight is who he has to be every night," Rivers said. "I love the way he played. I loved how he played under control. Didn't force it, took gaps when they were there. ... He was a presence on the floor for us, and not just on the offensive end but on the defensive end, as well. That takes us to a different level when he plays like that."