Report: Ben Simmons insists he’ll never play for 76ers again
Ben Simmons is threatening not to report to the 76ers.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
ESPN Sources: Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons will not report for opening of training camp next week and intends to never play another game for the franchise. Simmons hasn’t spoken to team since a late August meeting when he communicated this message to Sixers officials.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 21, 2021
Simmons is clearly aware of sanctions available to organization to fine and suspend him, including withholding of salary. But so far, Simmons appears willing to carry out a plan of forcing his way to a new team. Sixers have yet to find a a trade they’re willing to make for him. https://t.co/vxSrBUWjXw— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 21, 2021
When Simmons told them last month he didn’t plan to report, the 76ers appeared not close to trading him.
We’ll see whether this pushes Philadelphia to accept a lesser offer. That’s clearly what Simmons is trying to entice. He doesn’t want to help a team where he has no future rehab his value just to deal him later. He wants to get moved now.
But 76ers president Daryl Morey can be patient/stubborn. He doesn’t want to lose the transaction. This trade is a massively important opportunity in Philadelphia’s bid to build a championship team around Joel Embiid.
The 76ers can fine Simmons, taking big chunks of his $33,003,936 salary once preseason games begin. If he holds out more than 30 days once training camp opens, he won’t be credited with a year of service for the 2021-22 season.
However, Simmons could theoretically go the route seemingly used by Mo Williams and threated by Kyrie Irving. If Simmons undergoes surgery, it’d be difficult for Philadelphia to fine him for withholding services as he recovers. Many NBA players have some physical issue that could be cleaned up with surgery. Also: Good luck trading Simmons for high value while he’s sidelined from surgery.
If these potential next steps sound drastic… they are. But tension is escalating, not diffusing.
The simplest solution is the 76ers trading Simmons. Otherwise, the situation keeps looking messier and messier.