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Report: Ben Simmons insists he’ll never play for 76ers again

Ben Simmons in Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 25: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers sits on the court after falling into the front row during the second half of an NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on November 25, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

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Ben Simmons is threatening not to report to the 76ers.

Not just until they change his mind. Not just until they fine him a certain amount. Not just until Doc Rivers gets reprimanded.

For good.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

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.