The 76ers want Ben Simmons to rejoin the team. Simmons has no interest in ever playing for Philadelphia again. Around and around we go.
But how far is Simmons willing to go in order to get exactly what he wants? During an appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump” on Tuesday, Ramona Shelburne reported that, as of right now, Simmons is prepared to sit out the entire 2021-22 season if necessary.
BEN SIMMONS TIMELINE: From top pick to polarizing trade target
“When you talk to people close to Ben, I say, ‘OK, worst-case scenario, it takes all year. Would he sit all year?’ And the answer right now is yes,” Shelburne said. “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 go get traded to a team that you feel more comfortable on.
“But let’s see what happens when you really start missing checks, when you really start missing basketball, when the league moves on without you.”
Shelburne noted that Simmons is “probably at his all-time lowest value,” and the 76ers aren’t interested in sending him out for a few draft picks and expiring contracts. In their ideal scenario, they would receive an All-NBA player capable of helping them compete for a championship. Philadelphia isn’t interested in rebuilding when it has Joel Embiid entering his prime years.
That’s why both Sixers coach Doc Rivers and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey praised Simmons at Philly’s media day and expressed hope about him eventually returning to the team. They know a home run trade is unlikely to emerge before the start of the season, so their best strategy is keeping Simmons until someone calls with a more enticing offer.
If Simmons continues his holdout, though, Morey made it clear that he will face significant financial penalties.
“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.
Buckle up, folks. It doesn’t sound like this standoff is ending anytime soon.
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