The city of Philadelphia is ready to say goodbye to Ben Simmons and Simmons is ready to say goodbye to Philly.

As the two sides slowly move closer to their inevitable breakup, there will only be one thing left to do: for Simmons to write a letter in The Inquirer to say goodbye to his “fans.” Have no fear, Ben, our Mike Sielski has saved you the trouble and written one for you.

We have a hunch Philly fans will like Zach Ertz’s a little bit better.

On the court, the Sixers opened the season in New Orleans without the suspended Simmons, and previewed what they may look like minus the NBA’s biggest malcontent.

The Sixers didn’t miss Simmons on Wednesday night as they defeated the New Orleans Pelicans, 117-97, with Joel Embiid, Furkan Korkmaz, Tobias Harris, and Tyrese Maxey all scoring 20 points or more.

— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport

Off the Dribble

Doc Rivers hasn’t given up on Ben Simmons. He’s said it before and he said it again before the Sixers’ season opener in New Orleans. Rivers said he wants “Ben to be playing” as he continued to hold out hope that this saga will come to an end and all can be salvaged with Simmons. After speaking with reporters about Simmons, he went on to discuss actual basketball and coach a game. The Sixers defeated the Pelicans, 117-97, on the road with Tyrese Maxey as their starting point guard.

Next: The Sixers return to Philadelphia and hope Simmons is back with the team. They will face the Brooklyn Nets on Friday (7:30 p.m., ESPN).

On the Fly

While the Sixers look to be prepared to say goodbye to Ben Simmons, the Wells Fargo center welcomed three new faces on Wednesday night. Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, forward Zack MacEwen, and goaltender Martin Jones all made their Flyers debuts on Wednesday against the Boston Bruins.

It was a good night for the Flyers, who won their second straight, 6-3, behind two goals from Cam Atkinson.

Next: The Flyers conclude their season-opening four-game homestand on Saturday against the Florida Panthers (7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia).

Early Birds

As the Eagles figure out how to best use Jalen Hurts, fantasy football managers don’t have that problem. With Hurts scoring touchdowns through the air and in the running game, fantasy players are loving having him in their lineups and racking up points on a weekly basis.

But in real-life football, we’ve seen the Eagles have issues. As Hurts gains NFL experience, the Eagles also have to figure out how to get their running attack going. The potential return to the field on Sunday against the Raiders for offensive lineman Lane Johnson and tight end Dallas Goedert can help things, but that’s uncertain as of now. And on the other side of the ball, it’s clear from watching the film that the way Jonathan Gannon is using his linebackers in zone defense just doesn’t quite match up with the personnel.

Next: The Eagles will look to improve to 3-4 on Sunday with a road win against the 4-2 Las Vegas Raiders (4:05 p.m., Fox29).

Fleet Street

Have you ever wondered if the Union are getting great value for player X, Y, and Z and not for A, B, and C? Well, today is your day to play Major League Soccer Moneyball, courtesy of all the salary information released by the MLSPA and compiled and organized into various charts by the Inquirer’s own Jonathan Tannenwald. You can also see how the Union’s payroll stacks up to other teams around the league — just in time to figure out who spent their way into the playoffs, and whose spending didn’t even accomplish that feat.

Speaking of the MLS playoffs, the Union are on their way, but their 3-2 loss vs. Minnesota won’t help their playoff seeding. And speaking of lucrative salaries, one of the team’s best-paid attackers did his part to score in the game, but to no avail.

Next: The Union return home Saturday to play Nashville SC (7:30 p.m., ESPN+).

Extra Innings

When it comes to impactful free agents, Freddy Galvis doesn’t exactly jump off the list as a must-sign. But the value of a 31-year-old utility man who slashed .224/.292/.393 in 32 games with the Phillies goes beyond numbers. Bringing back the Venezuelan would not only provide veteran leadership, but he could also be a bridge to the young player the Phillies need to develop into an everyday shortstop, writes Matt Breen.

Will Galvis be back next season? Breen and Scott Lauber forecast whether every Phillie will stay or go in 2022.

Aaron Nola doesn’t figure to be going anywhere, and that might be a good thing for the Phillies, since he could be primed for a bounce-back season in 2022.

Worth a look