The place the Ben Simmons-76ers saga stands now, and the place it could possibly be headed


Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers stay at an deadlock, with no motion since Philadelphia was eradicated within the second spherical of the playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks in June.

Simmons, who’s below contract for 4 extra seasons, want to be traded. The 76ers want to commerce him, however just for a return they consider is commensurate with how they worth the 25-year-old, three-time All-Star and two-time All-Protection choice.

Up to now, a deal hasn’t occurred. Till it does, each side will stay locked in a stalemate.

Sources beforehand advised ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Simmons had sought a commerce out of Philadelphia and that Simmons’ agent, Klutch Sports activities CEO Wealthy Paul, and Sixers administration had met early in the offseason. Simmons has yet to report to camp forward of the crew’s first preseason sport Monday in opposition to the Toronto Raptors.

“We’re in it for the lengthy haul,” a supply near Simmons told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.

All of that provides as much as Philadelphia — a metropolis that has grown accustomed to drama surrounding its basketball crew — being dwelling to the league’s stickiest scenario forward of the 2021-22 season.

NBA Power Rankings: Where the Simmons saga sent Philly

Preseason has began. The place does the Simmons scenario stand as of Monday?

The 76ers traveled north of the border to tackle the Raptors Monday evening. Simmons, as anticipated, did not be a part of them, persevering with his holdout that formally started when he did not report back to coaching camp final week.

However whereas Philadelphia positioned the 25% of Simmons’ wage that he was owed Friday — roughly $8.25 million — into an escrow account, Monday marks the primary day he’ll start to see a everlasting monetary hit for his resolution to steer clear of his crew.

Starting with Monday’s sport in opposition to the Raptors, the Sixers plan to nice Simmons for each sport — each preseason and common season — that he’s away from the crew. For every sport missed, Philadelphia will deduct roughly $360,000 from that $8.25 million positioned in escrow.

The nice falls below the settlement spelled out between the NBA and the Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation within the Well being and Security Protocols, the place a participant who’s unable to play on account of “affordable trigger” can have his compensation for this season diminished by 1/91.sixth (about 1.09%) of the participant’s base compensation for every sport he misses.

Within the occasion Simmons skips all four of the 76ers’ preseason games, Simmons will lose roughly $1.4 million in fines. If he is traded, for instance, on Nov. 19 — a month into the common season — he’ll lose roughly $7.2 million in wage.

This isn’t cash Simmons can get again within the occasion Philadelphia ultimately accedes to his want to be traded. The crew that chooses to commerce for him can not comply with pay Simmons the cash he’s owed in fines from Philadelphia. As a substitute, Simmons would solely be capable of get some, or all, of the nice a reimbursement by coming to a settlement with the 76ers, who would haven’t any incentive to take action.

How did we get right here?

From the second Simmons handed out of a wide-open dunk to Matisse Thybulle with below 4 minutes to go in Recreation 7 of the Jap Convention semifinals in opposition to the Hawks, league insiders have believed his exit from Philadelphia was inevitable.

After staunchly defending Simmons all season, Sixers coach Doc Rivers was requested after that Recreation 7 loss if Simmons could possibly be a championship-level level guard. “I do not know the reply to that,” Rivers stated.

A part of the explanation Rivers defended Simmons all season was that it was his newest try to make use of his information conferences to spice up the boldness of one in all his key gamers — one thing he’d had success doing with gamers like Rajon Rondo with the Boston Celtics and DeAndre Jordan with the LA Clippers.

Not solely was Philadelphia nonetheless hoping Simmons would grow to be extra prepared to shoot, however there additionally was the truth that Simmons’ title had been bandied about in James Harden commerce talks at the beginning of the season.

In the end, none of it labored, culminating with Simmons passing up that wide-open dunk.

Shortly after that ugly Recreation 7 loss, and following a dialogue between administration and Simmons’ illustration, each side agreed to search for a commerce because the draft and free company approached. Over the following weeks, the Sixers had talks with quite a few groups, sources stated, and several other made what they believed have been respectable gives.

It turned clear the Sixers’ asking worth for Simmons was steep; Philly was searching for a premium return whether or not it was a star participant, a number of first-round picks or each.

After the transaction season led to mid-August, proprietor Joshua Harris and 76ers administration flew to Los Angeles to fulfill with Simmons and agent Wealthy Paul. The Sixers meant to inform Simmons they could not discover a deal for him, hoping to place apart variations and enter the season on the identical web page, sources stated.

Simmons, nonetheless, was steadfast, telling Harris he did not need to play for the crew once more and that if he wasn’t traded by the top of the month, he did not intend to return to coaching camp, sources stated.

The purpose was made that it wasn’t Simmons’ duty to extend his commerce worth, and that the Sixers ought to discover the very best commerce and execute it now, somewhat than look ahead to a robust begin to the season to extend his worth.

Simmons hasn’t spoken to the crew since that assembly, although 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey stated he has communicated along with his representatives, led by agent Wealthy Paul, since then.

Why hasn’t Simmons been traded but?

The easy reply? As a result of Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal aren’t accessible but.

Morey has confirmed three issues over his lengthy, profitable run as an govt: He is not afraid of awkward conditions, he is not going to make a deal for the sake of creating one and he’s consistently attempting to swing trades for stars.

Like a number of different groups across the league, the 76ers are intently monitoring the Lillard scenario in hopes that he asks out of Portland. Earlier this summer time, Lillard stated he did not really feel just like the Blazers had a championship roster and wished to see enhancements. Portland has had a quiet offseason when it comes to free-agent additions.

Till there’s any motion there — or one other crew is available in with an enormous supply for Simmons individually — it appears possible Simmons will stay on Philadelphia’s roster for the foreseeable future.

What are league insiders saying about how Philly is dealing with this?

A participant refusing to report with 4 years and roughly $150 million remaining on his contract is unprecedented, and has executives from across the league watching it intently to see how Philadelphia handles it.

A number of executives from different groups have applauded the Sixers’ strategy, saying it was the one method Philadelphia may’ve dealt with it. One stated the best way Simmons has gone about that is the equal of a crew going to an getting old veteran and saying, “We paid you some huge cash, however now you are not price it, so we’re gonna pay you $10 million as an alternative — or under no circumstances.”

One other exec identified that not like previous conditions by which a participant has held out heading into the season, solely to ultimately present up, these gamers have been holding out with a view to get a brand new contract. Simmons’ case is exclusive as a result of he’s holding out within the hopes of getting paid to play elsewhere.

Have there been current examples of gamers below contract not reporting to camp?

The closest is Jimmy Butler in 2018 with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Butler was dissatisfied that his contract was not renegotiated in the course of the offseason and believed not everybody on the roster was aligned to successful. Consequently, he implored the organization to trade him.

The Butler scenario was totally different as a result of the Timberwolves gave him permission to overlook media day and the early a part of coaching camp whereas he rehabbed his proper knee. When Butler did return to coaching camp on Oct. 10, he created a storm at his first practice, difficult teammates, coaches and front-office executives.

A type of targets was then-GM Scott Layden. “You f—ing want me, Scott. You may’t win with out me,” Butler reportedly stated.

The younger Timberwolves crew that reached the playoffs the earlier 12 months began the season 3-7. After 4 straight losses, Butler was traded on Nov. 12 to Philadelphia, the place he helped Simmons and Embiid attain the second spherical of the playoffs earlier than shedding to the eventual champion Toronto Raptors.

One other instance is when the Rockets’ James Harden requested for a commerce final offseason and missed the primary week of coaching camp on account of failing to fulfill the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols.

Harden ultimately practiced on Dec. 14 however was dominated unavailable for the Rockets’ season opener after being noticed at an indoor celebration with out a masks, a violation of the league’s well being and security protocols that price him $50,000. Houston began the season 3-6 earlier than Harden was traded to Brooklyn in mid-January.

Not like Minnesota and Houston, the place Butler and Harden have been each their groups’ prime gamers, that’s not the case in Philadelphia. The 76ers have an MVP candidate in Joel Embiid and a robust nucleus led by Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey.

With or with out Simmons, Philadelphia remains to be a playoff crew, though possible not one of many favorites to win the Jap Convention.

What’s Simmons’ relationship with Embiid now?

From the second Simmons and Embiid started taking part in collectively in 2017, there have been questions on their on-court match regardless of the 2 of them persistently posting optimistic internet scores when sharing the court docket.

Philadelphia’s repeated stumbles within the playoffs have not eased these considerations. And after Embiid spoke to the media following the 76ers’ Recreation 7 loss to the Hawks, the concept of breaking apart the celebrities burst open.

“I will be sincere. I assumed the turning level was once we, I do not know the right way to say it, is once we had an open shot and we made one free throw,” Embiid stated, not naming Simmons however particularly calling out his passed-up layup alternative as the explanation for Philadelphia’s loss.

Embiid addressed the subject throughout his media day interview at the beginning of coaching camp in Camden, New Jersey.

“I did not name out anyone. I simply acknowledged the details. I am sincere. I am unable to lie. That is simply me,” Embiid stated. “So I haven’t got any regrets as a result of I do not really feel like I put anyone in a scenario the place they needed to really feel unhealthy.”

Embiid did, nonetheless, say he has regrets about how the scenario between Simmons and the crew has deteriorated. When requested what he would’ve stated to Simmons if he’d been given the possibility to speak to him — Embiid confirmed he and his teammates tried to take action, just for Simmons to rebuff them — Embiid paused for 10 seconds whereas deciding what to say.

“Truthfully, I might in all probability say I am disillusioned,” Embiid stated. “I am disillusioned that we’re on this scenario. … I am simply disillusioned he is not right here, as a result of he is aware of it, too. He is aware of we will win collectively.”

His tone, nonetheless, was markedly totally different later that week after a report in The Athletic acknowledged Simmons did not consider he and Embiid may win collectively. “The scenario is disappointing, borderline sort of disrespectful to all the fellows which can be out right here preventing for his or her lives,” Embiid advised reporters.

“It was sort of shocking to see. … We removed Jimmy [Butler], which I nonetheless assume was a mistake, simply to verify [Simmons] wanted the ball in his arms. That is the choice they made.”

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