What we and do not know about Ben Simmons’ situation

Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers remain at a dead end as the two teams have been eliminated by Philadelphia in the second round of the playoffs Atlanta Hawks in June.

Simmons, who is under contract for four more seasons, wants to be traded. The 76s would happily swap it, but only for a return that, in their opinion, matches the appreciation of the 25-year three-time all-star and two-time all-defense selection.

No deal has been reached yet. Until then, both sides remain in a stalemate.

Sources previously announced ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Simmons was looking for a trade from Philadelphia and that Simmons’ agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, and Sixers management had met earlier this summer. On Tuesday, sources told Wojnarowski that Simmons will not report to the opening of the training camp next week and never intends to play a game for the franchise again.

All of this helps make Philadelphia – a city that has grown used to the drama surrounding its basketball team – home to the league’s toughest pre-camp situation.

How did we get here?

From the moment Simmons passed out from a wide open dunk, um Matisse Thybulle Less than four minutes before Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Hawks, League insiders believe his departure from Philadelphia was inevitable.

After steadfastly defending Simmons all season, Sixers coach Doc Rivers was asked after that Game 7 loss if Simmons could be a championship point guard.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” said Rivers.

One of the reasons Rivers Simmons defended all season was because this was his most recent attempt to use his press conferences to build the confidence of one of his key players – something he had done with players like being successful Rondo district with the Boston Celtics and DeAndre Jordan with the LA Clippers.

Not only was Philadelphia still hoping that Simmons would get more ready to shoot, but there was the fact that Simmons’ name had been circulated James Harden Trade talks at the start of the season.

Ultimately, none of it worked, culminating in Simmons giving this wide-open dunk.

Shortly after that ugly loss of Game 7, and after some discussion between management and Simmons’ representatives, both sides agreed to look for a deal as the draft and the free agency got closer. In the weeks that followed, the Sixers had conversations with numerous teams, sources said, and several made legitimate offers in their opinion.

It became clear that the price of the Sixers was high for Simmons; Philly was looking for a premium return whether it was a star player, multiple first-round picks, or both.

After the deal season ended in mid-August, owner Joshua Harris and 76ers management flew to Los Angeles to meet with Simmons and Agent Rich Paul. Wanting to let Simmons know they couldn’t find a deal for him, the Sixers hoped to put differences aside and start the season on the same side, sources said.

However, Simmons stood firm, telling Harris that he didn’t want to play for the team again and that unless he was traded by the end of the month he had no plans to get into training camp, sources said.

It has been suggested that it is not Simmons’ responsibility to increase its trade value and that the Sixers should find the best possible trade and execute it now rather than wait for a strong start to the season to add to its value.

Simmons has not spoken to the team since that meeting.

Why hasn’t Simmons traded yet?

The simple answer? because Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal are not yet available.

Philadelphia’s basketball division president Daryl Morey has proven three things in his long, successful executive career: he’s not afraid of awkward situations, he won’t make a deal to make one, and he is constantly trying to make trades for stars to swing.

Like several other teams in the league, the 76ers are closely monitoring the Lillard situation in the hope that he will leave Portland. Earlier this summer, Lillard said he didn’t feel the Blazers had a championship list and wanted to see improvements. Portland had a quiet off-season in terms of free agent additions.

Until there’s a move there – or another team separately makes a huge offer for Simmons – it’s likely that Simmons will stay on the Philadelphia roster for the foreseeable future.

Would Simmons Yes, really do not report to the training camp?

Rich Paul has not been afraid of using this type of tactic to his advantage in the past. Two Klutch Sports customers Tristan Thompson and JR Smith, had lengthy contract negotiations with the Cleveland Cavaliers deep into the training camp, just before the start of the regular season.

This situation is different. Simmons is under contract for another four seasons, which reduces his leverage. Persevering is one way he could pressure Philadelphia to take a move – though Morey would be unlikely to feel the need to rush to take one.

Expect the NBA to step in if Simmons doesn’t come forward and the 76ers don’t punish him financially with a suspension. The last thing the league can afford is a precedent of under-contract players not signing up for training camp.

Have there been recent examples of players under contract who don’t report to camp?

Is closest Jimmy Butler 2018 with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Butler was dissatisfied that his contract wasn’t renegotiated during the off-season and believed that not everyone on the roster was geared towards victory. As a result, he begged the organization to swap him.

Butler’s situation was different because the Timberwolves allowed him to miss media day and the early part of training camp while rehabilitating his right knee. When Butler returned to training camp on October 10th, he caused a storm on his first training session, challenging teammates, coaches and front office executives.

One of those goals was then GM Scott Layden: “You need me, Scott. You can’t win without me,” Butler reportedly said.

The young Timberwolves team, which reached the playoffs last year, started the season with 3-7. After four straight defeats, Butler was traded to the 76ers on November 12, where he helped Simmons and Embiid advance to the second round of the playoffs before losing to the eventual champion Toronto Raptors.

Another example is when James Harden of the Rockets asked for a trade last off-season and missed the first week of training camp for not following the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols.

Harden eventually practiced on December 14, but was deemed unavailable for the Rockets’ season opener after being spotted at an indoor party without a mask, a breach of the league’s health and safety protocols that earned him $ 50,000 cost. Houston started the season 3-6 earlier Harden was traded to Brooklyn in mid-January.

Simmons’ failure to show up at training camp would be viewed as an inconvenience rather than a nuisance.

Unlike Minnesota and Houston, where Butler and Harden were both top players on their teams, this is not the case in Philadelphia. The 76ers have an MVP candidate in Joel Embiid and a strong core, led by Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey.

With or without Simmons, Philadelphia is still a playoff team, although it is unlikely to be an Eastern Conference favorite.

What is the financial impact if Simmons perseveres?

Pursuant to Article VI, Section 1 (Player Behavior) of the Collective Agreement, a player who fails to perform their services would be suspended and could be fined up to 1/145 of the player’s base pay for any day they fail to appear.

This means Simmons could lose $ 227,613 for every practice and game he missed. It should be noted that Simmons would have to be banned before the 76ers can take the daily penalty.

For the 76’s who would lose a ton of leverage trying to find a trade, the suspension approach is where there’s no going back.

If the 76ers choose not to enforce the “failure to provide service” language in the CBA, they could still be fined $ 2,500 for the first missed session, $ 5,000 for the second missed session, $ 7,500 for the third missed workout and a reasonable fine based on the circumstances for a fourth (or additional) missed workout.

However, Simmons’ situation is unique because of the pay structure in his contract.

When Simmons signed his five-year rookie maximum extension of $ 177.2 million in 2019, he decided to get 25% of his salary for each season on July 1, 25% on October 1, and the remaining 50% in 12 installments from November. fifteen.

The unknown is whether the 76ers would withhold $ 8,250,984 on Oct. 1 if he didn’t show up for training camp.

What relationship does Simmons have with Embiid now?

From the moment Simmons and Embiid started playing together in 2017, there have been questions about their fit on the pitch, although the two of them give consistently positive net ratings when sharing the pitch.

Philadelphia’s repeated stumbling in the playoffs did not alleviate those concerns. And after Embiid spoke to the media after the 76ers lost to the Hawks in Game 7, the idea of ​​breaking up the stars fell through.

“I’ll be honest. I thought the turning point was when, I don’t know how to put it, we had an open shot and made a free throw,” said Embiid, who did not name Simmons, but instead specifically called his missed opportunity to Layup as the reason for Philadelphia’s loss.

However, Embiid went on Twitter last week in response to a story about the status of their relationship in which he said he had no problems with Simmons.

“Stop using my name to advance people’s agenda,” Embiid tweeted. “I love and hate drama. I love playing with Ben. Statistics don’t lie. He’s a great player and we all didn’t get the job done. It’s up to me personally. I hope everyone is back because we know that we’re good enough to win. “

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst contributed to this story.

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