76ers won’t pay $8.25 million owed to Ben Simmons, setting stage for financial showdown

The Ben Simmons saga has taken yet another strange turn.

The 76ers don’t intend to pay Simmons the $8.25 million that he was supposed to receive Friday as part of his current contract, according to a report from Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer. Simmons is set to earn $33 million in 2021-22 as part of a five-year, $177.2 million extension that he signed in 2019. He already took home 25 percent of that salary earlier this year, and another 25 percent was due Friday.

The Sixers “appear to be within their rights” to refuse to give Simmons that scheduled payment, per Fischer, as they believe he has not fulfilled the terms of his contract. Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, who praised Simmons at the team’s media day and expressed hope about him eventually returning to the team, made it clear that there would be significant financial penalties if Simmons missed practices and games.

“We’re not gonna talk about the specifics of fines or things like that, but I will say that it’s pretty, very clearly spelled out in the (collective bargaining agreement) and his contract what happens,” Morey said.

Fischer also noted that there have been “growing whispers” around the league that Simmons could rejoin the team but maintain that he is unable to play because of an injury. However, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Friday that Simmons still doesn’t plan to return and understands the consequences of his holdout. Simmons and his camp believe that he will ultimately be paid, whether as a result of a trade or some other agreement, according to Marc Stein.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported earlier this week that Simmons is willing to sit out the 2021-22 season if Philadelphia doesn’t trade him. She followed up on that report Friday, citing a source close to Simmons who said that, “We’re in it for the long haul.”

The 76ers will begin preseason play on Monday. Simmons will lose $227,613 for each missed game, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, and any future fines will be deducted from the $8.25 million that has been put in an escrow account.

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