The Sixers are officially back in training camp, with the preseason opener just days away, and Ben Simmons is still nowhere to be seen. The stalemate has turned into an official holdout, and the clock is seemingly ticking.
But we might be waiting awhile for the final buzzer.
Simmons has reportedly expressed no interest in returning to the team, and is rumored to be completely against ever playing for the Sixers again. Yet I think there is still some part of the collective basketball world that thinks he'll give in once those checks stop coming in, and once fines start being levied against him.
On Tuesday, however, ESPN's NBA insider Ramona Shelburne reported that sources in Simmons' camp have told her the opposite:
"I talked to somebody close to Ben the other day, and they said, 'What is the purpose of him showing up at this point? With all that has happened in this offseason. If Ben even shows up, let's say it's a month from now or two months from now, he has no intention of ever doing that - but what Ben Simmons are you going to get at this point? Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, is he going to be the same guy he was for you in the past few years?"
"Ben Simmons is willing to sit as long as it takes, too. When you talk to people close to Ben, and I say, 'Worse case scenario it takes all year, will he sit all year?' And the answer right now is, 'Yes.'"
That last line... wow. A three-time All-Star and DPOY runner-up just taking an entire season off as he approaches his athletic prime because he doesn't think his current team is the right fit, and he feels a little slighted by some mild criticisms of his critique-worthy basketball repertoire?
If he's legitimately willing to sit out an entire season and not at least pull an Anthony Davis-style "I'm here, but I don't want to be, and I'm going to just chill on the bench until you trade me" move, then Simmons isn't just a little angry with the Sixers - he's furious.
Because that would be a truly dramatic move.
Even James Harden showed up and played eight games for the Rockets last year, while telling the entire world and the next one that he wanted to leave.
It'll be very interesting to see how long Simmons really does take this. The Sixers' front office doesn't seem to be in any rush to take a below-market deal; if they were amenable to simply cutting their losses to get out of the situation, they would've done it already.
This could be really messy come January.