Ben Simmons, the three-time all star and two-time all defensive first team member will not be reporting to training camp for the Philadelphia 76ers, as ESPN Senior NBA Insider, Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday. Simmons has made it very clear he wants a trade out of Philadelphia after their disappointing loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals where he shockingly passed up a wide open layup at the basket, not taking advantage of his 6’10 frame to pass to the 6’7 Matisse Thybulle, who basically had two defenders on him already.
Simmons has also made it known he will not put on a 76ers uniform again until he is moved to another team. Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and coach Doc Rivers made it known to Simmons that they would like him at training camp and on the floor to partner with All-NBA center, Joel Embiid- something Simmons has made clear he no longer desires to do.
All this tension started after the Sixers devastating loss to the Hawks when star center and Simmons teammate, Embiid stated this in the Game 7 Postgame interview when he said “Man, I will be honest. I thought the turning point was, you know, when we, I don’t know how to say it, but I thought the turning point was just we had an open shot, and we made one free throw, and we missed the other, and they came down and scored,” Embiid said.
This is definitely one of the controversial comments that caused Simmons to ask for a trade out of Philadelphia; however, Embiid wasn’t the only one to make controversial comments about Simmons, as his coach, Doc Rivers was asked if Ben Simmons can be a point guard of a championship team and he stated “ I don’t know the answer to that right now.” This definitely was the last straw for Simmons as he was reported in a lot of trade rumors earlier in the season for the Houston Rockets when James Harden was available on the market.
Doc Rivers just spoke today on First Take and stated "I can tell you up front, we would love to get Ben back. And if we can, we're going to try to do that.” There are two choices Simmons can make: make up with Doc, Embiid and the Sixers organization and try to work it out, or be ready to get fined endlessly, potentially even sanctioned by the league for refusing to play in games while being under contract and healthy to play.
Simmons still has four years and $147 million left on his max contract -- including $33 million for 2021-22 and won’t be a free agent until 2025. Despite Simmons frustration, he has to be held accountable for his performance against the Hawks where he shot an abysmal 33% from the foul line and didn’t even average double-digit points in the series, averaging 9.9 per game. The Sixers will have their own set of rules that include fines for missing media day and each missed practice. If Simmons were to miss games, he could be fined up to $228,000 per game.
It’s a controversial world in Sixer land right now with the season around the corner and one of their best players refusing to report to his job. But, it will be interesting how this all plays out in the end.