September 21, 2021

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Everything we know and don't know about Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers, and their trade predicament

Everything we know and don’t know about Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers, and their trade predicament

Ben Simmons The Philadelphia 76ers have been at a stalemate as the two teams have been since Philadelphia’s second-round playoffs were eliminated by the Atlanta Hawks in June.

Simmons, who is on a contract for another four seasons, would like to trade. The 76 players want to trade it in, but only for a payout they think matches how they value the 25-year-old picking the All-Star three times and picking the All-Defense twice.

So far, no agreement has been reached. Until that happens, both sides will remain trapped.

Sources previously told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Simmons sought a deal from Philadelphia and that Simmons’ agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, and Sixers management met earlier this summer. Now, sources have confirmed that Simmons has threatened to skip the start of training camp in an effort to pressure Philadelphia into making a move.

It all adds up to Philadelphia – a city accustomed to the drama surrounding its basketball team – being home to some of the toughest situations in the league with less than three weeks until training camp.


How did we get here?

From the moment Simmons came out of a wide-open immersion Matisse Thibault With less than four minutes remaining in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Hawks, league insiders thought his Philadelphia exit was inevitable.

Having strongly defended Simmons all season, Sixers coach Doc Rivers was asked after losing Game 7 if Simmons could be a championship-level guard.

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

Part of the reason Rivers has defended Simmons all season is that it was his last attempt to use his press conferences to boost the confidence of one of his key players – something he has managed to do with players like Rundu District With the Boston Celtics and Deandre Jordan with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Not only was Philadelphia hoping Simmons would be more ready to shoot, but there was also the fact that Simmons’ name had been covered in James Harden Business talks at the start of the season.

In the end, none of it worked, culminating with Simmons abandoning that wide open immersion.

Shortly after the ugly Game 7 loss, and after a discussion between management and Simmons’ representation, the two sides agreed to look for a deal as draft and free agency approached. Over the ensuing weeks, the Sixers held talks with several teams, many of whom made what they believed to be legitimate offers, sources said.

It became apparent that the price the Sixers asked for Simmons was exorbitant; Whether it’s a star player, multiple picks in the first round, or both, Philly has been looking for a premium return.

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After the transaction season ended in mid-August, owner Joshua Harris and management of the 76ers traveled to Los Angeles to meet with Simmons and agent Rich Paul. Sources said The Sixers had intended to tell Simmons that they couldn’t find a deal for him, and were hoping to put feuds aside and enter the season on the same page.

Simmons, however, held firm, telling Harris he didn’t want to play for the team again, and that if he wasn’t traded by the end of the month, he wouldn’t intend to come to training camp, sources said.

It was pointed out that it was not Simmons’ responsibility to increase the value of his trade, and that the Sixers should find and execute the best possible deal now, rather than waiting for a strong start to the season to increase his value.


Why hasn’t Simmons been traded yet?

The simple answer? because Damian Lillard And Bradley Bell Not yet available.

Philadelphia’s head of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, has proven three things during his long and successful tenure as CEO: He’s not afraid of embarrassing situations, he won’t cut a deal in order to make one and he’s constantly trying to swing deals for the stars.

Like many other teams in the league, the 76ers are keeping a close eye on Lillard’s situation in hopes of asking for Portland. Earlier this summer, Lillard said he didn’t feel the Blazers had a championship slate and wanted to see improvements. Portland has a quiet backyard when it comes to free agent additions.

Until there’s any movement there — or another team comes up with a massive offer for Simmons separately — it seems likely that Simmons will remain on the Philadelphia roster for the foreseeable future.


Is Simmons really Do not report to the training camp?

Rich Bull wasn’t afraid to use this kind of tactic to his advantage in the past. Two Klutch Sports clients, Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith, had held protracted contract negotiations with the Cleveland Cavaliers deep in training camp, only accomplishing them near the start of the regular season.

This situation is different. Simmons is under contract for four more seasons, reducing his influence. Holding out is one way he can pressure Philadelphia to make a move — although Morey is unlikely to feel the need to rush into making one.

Expect the NBA to step in if Simmons doesn’t report and the 76ers don’t punish him financially with suspension. The last thing the league can afford is a precedent for contract players who don’t report to training camp.

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Have there been recent examples of players under contract not reporting to camp?

the closest Jimmy Butler In 2018 with Minnesota Timberwolves. Butler was unhappy that his contract was not renegotiated during the holiday period, and thought that not everyone on the list was biased towards winning. As a result, he pleaded with the organization to trade him.

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

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

The young Timberwolves, who reached the playoffs the previous year, started the season 3-7. After four straight losses, Butler was traded November 12 for 76, helping Simmons and Embiid reach the second round of the playoffs before losing to eventual champion Toronto Raptors.

Another example is when James Harden asked the Rockets to make a deal last season and missed the first week of training camp as a result of failing to meet the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols.

Harden eventually trained on December 14, but was ruled unavailable at the Rockets’ season opener after he was seen at an indoor party without a mask, a violation of the league’s health and safety protocols that cost him $50,000. Houston started the season 3-6 before Harden was traded to Brooklyn in mid-January.

Not showing Simmons at boot camp would be seen as more inconvenience and less disruptive.

Unlike Minnesota and Houston, where Butler and Harden were some of the top players on their team, this wasn’t the case in Philadelphia. The 76ers have an MVP candidate in Joel Embiid And a strong core driven by Tobias HarrisAnd Seth Carreyand Thybulle and Therese Maxi.

With or without Simmons, Philadelphia is still the addendum team, although it is not likely to be one of the candidates to be eliminated from the Eastern Conference.


What are the financial ramifications if Simmons holds out?

Under Section VI, Section 1 (Player Conduct) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, a player who fails to provide services will be suspended and may be fined up to 1/145 of the player’s base compensation for each day they do not appear.

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This means Simmons can lose $227,613 for every exercise and game they miss. It’s worth noting that Simmons will need to be suspended before the 76ers can impose a daily penalty.

Taking a suspension approach is a point of no return for the 76ers, who will lose a lot of leverage in their search for a bargain.

If the 76ers choose not to enforce the CBA’s “failure to render” language, they can still be fined $2,500 for the first missed practice, $5,000 for the second missed practice, $7,500 for the third missed practice and a fine that is reasonable under the circumstances for a fourth (or additional) missed practice .

However, Simmons’ status is unique due to the pay structure of his contract.

When Simmons signed his maximum five-year extension of $177.2 million in 2019, he chose to take 25% of his salary for each season on July 1, 25% on October 1, and the remaining 50% in 12 installments starting in November . 15th.

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


What is Simmons’ relationship with Embiid now?

From the moment Simmons and Embiid began playing together in 2017, there have been questions about their fitness on the court even though the two have consistently scored positive net ratings when sharing the court.

Philadelphia’s frequent stumbles in the playoffs did not allay those concerns. And after Embiid spoke to the media after the 76ers’ game 7 loss to the Hawks, the idea of ​​breaking up the stars exploded.

“I’ll be honest. I thought the turning point was when, I don’t know how to say it, when we had an open shot and we did one free throw,” Embiid said, not naming Simmons but specifically calling out his missed opportunity as the reason for Philadelphia’s loss.

However, Embiid took to Twitter last week in response to a story about the state of their relationship, saying he had no issues with Simmons.

“Stop using my name to advance people’s agendas,” Embiid wrote on Twitter. “I love and hate drama. I love playing with Ben. The stats don’t lie. He’s a great player and we didn’t all get the job done. This is for me personally. I hope everyone comes back because we know we’re good enough to win.”

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