The Ben Simmons saga became a bit uglier Tuesday.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Ben Simmons will not report to camp — that part we already knew. Woj adds that Simmons “intends to never play another game for the franchise.” This after a report emerged last week that the Sixers believe Simmons would eventually report to the team.
ESPN Sources: Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons will not report for opening of training camp next week and intends to never play another game for the franchise. Simmons hasn’t spoken to team since a late August meeting when he communicated this message to Sixers officials.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 21, 2021
Woj adds that the Sixers have not found a trade they are willing to accept for Simmons. This lines up with what I’m told — the Sixers will not make a trade just to make a trade. As far as a “step trade” scenario, it appears the Sixers are only willing to make a deal that they believe will bring them closer to being a title contender.
Simmons is clearly aware of sanctions available to organization to fine and suspend him, including withholding of salary. But so far, Simmons appears willing to carry out a plan of forcing his way to a new team. Sixers have yet to find a a trade they’re willing to make for him. https://t.co/vxSrBUWjXw— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 21, 2021
When you look at all the reports out there, it’s hard to find a deal that accomplishes the goals of Simmons moving on and the Sixers having a chance at a title. Teams like the Timberwolves, Kings and Warriors have been linked to Simmons, but none likely possess the assets — or are willing to part with their premium assets — to make the Sixers a better team right now.
A rumor suggested the Rockets could eye Simmons in a deal for John Wall, but it’s hard to imagine Daryl Morey has much of an appetite for such a deal with Wall’s bloated contract and recent injury history. We’ve heard whispers that teams like the Raptors and Spurs have had interest in Simmons, but there hasn’t been much smoke there recently.
So, this appears to be a true stalemate. Sixers media day is next Monday, where all of Simmons’ teammates will surely be peppered with questions surrounding the three-time All-Star. The following day, training camp begins, and it appears Simmons will not be there. There’s been no indication whether the Sixers will fine and/or suspend Simmons for not reporting.
This is a fairly unprecedented situation in NBA history. Simmons still has four years and almost $150 million left on his max contract. The recent “holdouts” of Jimmy Butler and James Harden are tough comparisons — they weren’t even truly holdouts. Both players reported to their teams and pretty much made things untenable. Knowing Simmons’ personality, it’s hard to imagine him showing up and being disruptive in order to force his way out.
This is likely a situation of “who blinks first,” but neither side seems prepared to do so. So, Simmons won’t report and the Sixers won’t move him unless the deal helps them win now.
This has the potential to get even uglier.
I joined Jas Kang and Dave Early on our latest episode of Sixers Daily to discuss Woj’s report and how Morey will approach the situation in the comings weeks. You can listen to the full episode below.
Or you can catch the episode through one of these links: