Ben Simmons’ stalemate with the Sixers continues into training camp. Who will blink first?
If both side are serious, there could be a long a stalemate as the Sixers wait for the right trade offer before unloading Simmons.
Just get over it, one would think.
Trade Ben Simmons for a bag of hot nickels and a box of stale Froot Loops if you have to. The sense is the 76ers need to get their disgruntled All-Star point guard out of town to avoid further distractions and quell what already is a circus.
Media day is Monday at the team’s practice facility and the week-long training camp begins Tuesday, starting the NBA season in earnest.
Coach Doc Rivers has already begun his national TV media tour to promote a new podcast, where he’s been bombarded with questions about Simmons’ refusal to attend training camp and desire to leave the Sixers. Simmons also turned away Sixers teammates who requested a meeting in Los Angeles.
And ESPN’s Brian Windhorst told SiriusXM NBA Radio that playing in front of Sixers fans is a “factor” in the 25-year-old wanting out of Philly: “I don’t think he intends to ever show his face there again.”
Yet, the Sixers are standing pat, at least publicly, despite Simmons’ dwindling trade value. The team keeps reiterating its stance that the multifaceted Simmons will not be traded for less than what it deems as equal value. The Sixers are determined to receive a package that includes an All-Star-caliber player in return for the player who was the first pick of the 2016 draft.
Some argued the Sixers have overvalued Simmons, who is hesitant to shoot from the perimeter and struggles mightily from the foul line. But with 2021 MVP runner-up Joel Embiid in his prime, they’re not willing to make a deal for the sake of making one. They’re content to fight off Simmons’ demands until a player becomes available who will help them contend for the NBA title.
And the Sixers will fine Simmons for missing time.
Simmons’ contract is structured for him to receive 50% of this season’s $33 million salary by Friday. He already received an initial payment of $8.3 million on July 1 and is scheduled to receive the second payment this week.
Teams have the ability to withhold salary when players fail to provide services, according to the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement. The Sixers can also fine Simmons for missing media day and training camp practices.
Players can be fined $2,500 for the first day of missed practice. The fine increases to $5,000 for the second day missed and $7,500 for the third day. And the Sixers could also suspend Simmons once preseason games begin on Oct. 4, which would cost him $227,613 for each game missed, according to ESPN.
The NBA is on the Sixers’ side in this situation. That’s because the league knows Simmons getting what he wants could lead to disgruntled players forcing their way out of contracts elsewhere. Simmons has four years and $146.6 million remaining on his deal.
However, sources have said Simmons isn’t concerned about the fine. Money plays no role in his decision-making. Simmons is doing all the things that will lead to a trade.
The Sixers have until the February trade deadline to make a move. So they can, theoretically, try to get the best record they can without him and hold out until there’s a satisfactory offer.
They know this isn’t the time to get much value because teams rarely make trades right before the season.
At this time, most teams are excited about their offseason additions. They want to use October and November to evaluate their rosters. They usually find out how good they are within the first 20 or so games of the season.
Dissatisfaction with the team at that time or a major injury could lead to a potential trade partner giving into the Sixers’ demands for Simmons at that time.
So if both side are serious, this could be a long a stalemate.
The problem for the Sixers is that the longer this drags out, the further they fall behind expected Eastern Conference powers like the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat.
In regard to leverage, Simmons has more. Since he’s not going to play despite losing money, the only way the Sixers can help themselves is to trade him.
So who’s going to blink first?