At this point, Ben Simmons’ business demand from Philadelphia is well documented. It’s been months of business speculation, which ultimately led to a stalemate – Simmons won’t show up to camp and maintains he’ll never play for the franchise again. At the same time, 76ers general manager Daryl Morey will not budge from a former No.1 pick with no equal value in return.
With four years remaining on his current contract, the former LSU star is in unprecedented territory. If he gets what he wants and gets sent from Philly, it will be a historic exchange unlike anything seen in NBA history.
Simmons signed a maximum five-year contract with Philadelphia in 2020
The 6-foot-11 point guard joined the Philadelphia 76ers ahead of last season, signing a five-year contract worth more than $ 177 million. He had just finished a season in which he averaged 16.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 8.0 assists. Ben Simmons was seen as a building block of the franchise with the Sixers alongside Joel Embiid.
Then last year’s playoffs took place. Prior to the Sixers Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Atlanta Hawks, there had been no rumor that Simmons was not happy with the set-up. But then the team’s playmaker missed a wide open dunk in Game 7, and minutes later Philly’s season was over.
Simmons also finished those seven games with a total of three field goal attempts in the fourth quarter.
His shy play drew post-game comments from Embiid and head coach Doc Rivers, neither of whom portrayed Simmons in a positive light. Then came reports that the three-time all-star was actually unhappy at the start of the 2020-21 season when Morey proposed him to the Houston Rockets in a trade for James Harden.
It has been a long road, but now we are in a good old fashioned impasse.
If Simmons is distributed, this will be the first such exchange
There has been a lot of commercial demand from superstars in the last few seasons alone. But no player has ever been treated with so many years left on their contract as Simmons. If he truly achieves his wish and leaves Philly, it will mean an exchange never seen before in NBA history.
The overall top pick in 2016 has four years and $ 147 million left on the deal he signed just over a year ago. He owes $ 33 million this season. If suspended by the organization, he will lose $ 227,000 for each missed game, regular season and exhibition, for the first 20 games. After that he tied up $ 300,000 per game.
Simmons reiterated that he will not show up to Sixers training camp. He also said he’s not worried about losing money and is ready to be sidelined the entire season if he needs to. At least for now, he seems steadfast in his decision to make that financial sacrifice.
But no one has done this kind of power play before.
For reference, James Harden, Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving each had two years to complete their deals when they requested a trade.
Now it’s a question of who flashes first between Simmons and the 76ers
The 2017-18 Rookie of the Year has entered the metaphorical bunker and is apparently there for the long haul. But Morey is just as stubborn and won’t send Simmons to pack his bags unless he gets a feedback he sees fit.
Philadelphia also holds all the influence of the situation – the 25-year-old is under contract for almost the next half-decade, and the more he refuses to show up, the more money he loses. The Sixers can keep Simmons and let him sit at home for the next four years if they choose.
The showdown will end with a trade-off or with Simmons deciding he’s done losing money. But the franchise point guard seems determined to never play with a Philly jersey again.
If he wins the starting contest, it will signify the first trade of this magnitude in league history and create a whole different level of player empowerment in the NBA.
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