On Tuesday morning Ben Simmons’ team cemented what everyone had been suspecting for weeks: he was officially done with the Philadelphia 76ers.
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
Well, things have officially gotten ugly.
The Sixers, for their part, seem unfazed. Two teams have stepped forward with legitimate trade proposals for Simmons – only to be swiftly rejected.
Philly has laid its asking price for Simmons out, and until someone meets it, the front office seemingly has no intention of budging.
Earlier this week NBA insider Evan Dammarell reported that the Houston Rockets were a team to watch in this whole ordeal.
“After talking to some folks over the weekend, it seems the Houston Rockets are seriously interested in acquiring 76ers forward Ben Simmons prior to the start of training camp,” he wrote. “Things remain fluid but John Wall would be headed to Philadelphia in a possible trade, per sources.”
That said, not everyone views this as a viable prospect. According to former New York Times NBA reporter Marc Stein, the prospect of a deal with Houston is unlikely.
“I was told very clearly that the Sixers do not liken these circumstances to Al Horford’s last season in Oklahoma City or John Wall’s in Houston,” he wrote. “As the start of training camp draws near, Philadelphia has shown zero interest to date in striking the sort of mutual agreement that Wall and the Rockets just hatched to shelve the former All-Star point guard.”
Simmons has four years and $147 million left on his max contract, including $33 million for 2021-22. There is a lot of money on the line for all parties involved – increasing the necessity to get this situation right.
Now that’s a wedding dress. https://t.co/lTPUx6ziGr
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 20, 2021
If Simmons stays true to his threat and fails to show up to training camp, the Sixers can suspend him for “failing to render services” once preseason games start. That could cost him $227,613 for each missed game.
Philly clearly wants to make one very specific trade for Simmons, but at the moment it doesn’t seem feasible. It feels like something is going to have to give here. One side is going to have to relent in order for progress to be made.
Which side will that ultimately be, though? That’s the $150 million question.