The standoff between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers could last quite a while. Simmons has asked the Sixers for a trade, and he doesn’t plan to report to the team until his wish is granted. However, the Sixers are in no rush to move him unless a deal that helps their championship chances presents itself. In the meantime, the Sixers could withhold Simmons’ salary, and all indications are that they plan to do just that.
Thus, the showdown between the two sides could ultimately come down to how much money Simmons is willing to forfeit by staying away from the team. If he’s OK with missing out on a sizeable chunk of cash that he would be otherwise entitled to, then perhaps his absence will be an extended one. If not, maybe he’ll return to the team and make the best out of the situation until a trade is inevitably made.
So, how long is Simmons willing to sit out? For the entire season, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, who had the following to say during an appearance on The Jump this week:
When you talk to people close to Ben, I say, okay, worst case scenario it takes all year, would he sit all year? And the answer right now is yes. Now, you can say that right now at the beginning of training camp, you can say that you’re willing to sit all year if that’s what it takes to get traded to a team that you feel more comfortable on. But let’s see what happens when you really start missing checks, you really start missing basketball, and the league moves on without you.
Simmons, who is under contract with the Sixers for the next four seasons, is owed more than $33 million for the upcoming campaign, and it’s tough to believe that Simmons — or anyone — would be willing to forfeit a large portion of that much money just to prove a point. But, at this point, you never know. Despite Simmons’ stance, the Sixers expressed hope that he would ultimately return to the team at media day.
“Ben is a very good player, a big part of this team,” Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said. “We’re disappointed he’s not here. We expect him to be back. We expect him to be a 76er … Every situation is different but we have a lot of optimism that we can make it work here.”
“I still think the world of him,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers added. “I think the world of him as a player.”
Simmons seems resolute in his stance to never play for the Sixers again, but as Shelburne pointed out, it will be interesting to see if his position changes once he starts missing out on game checks.