The Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons reached a major inflection point in his holdout designed to force the team to trade him. Simmons is owed 25 percent of his salary, which is a little over $8 million, on Oct. 1, and there were questions about whether or not the Sixers would cut him a check or keep that from heading into his bank account.
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, Philly — which already gave Simmons’ the 25 percent of his contract he was owed earlier this year — has decided to go with option B. It is unclear whether or not this would spark a gigantic fight in which the NBA and the Players’ Association would step in, but Fischer added that a growing belief is that Simmons will end up reporting to the team but sit on the sideline, citing injuries.
In turn, there have been growing whispers this week among NBA sources with knowledge of the situation that Simmons could respond by actually reporting to Philadelphia in the coming days, but maintaining that he is injured and unable to compete. Simmons has had noted knee and back injuries in the previous two seasons.
The Sixers’ first preseason game is in Toronto on Monday, and there’s a belief held in league circles that Simmons may even rejoin the Sixers prior to that contest. How that would be received by teammates and staffers remains to be seen.
It had been reported that Simmons was willing to sit out this season and forfeit his salary in an effort to get a trade from the Sixers, and that his plan is to never suit up for the team again. The question now is whether or not losing out on a major payday leads to Simmons having a change of heart.