Sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link) that 76ers team officials and Simmons’ agent Rich Paul have made progress in discussions about ending Simmons’ holdout and having him return to the team in the near future. Shams Charania of The Athletic echoes that report, tweeting that the two sides have been “working around the clock” over the last few days to find a resolution. Those conversations are ongoing, per Wojnarowski.
Even if Simmons does report to the Sixers, that doesn’t mean that he’s prepared to play out the next four years of his contract in Philadelphia. According to Wojnarowski, the plan would be for the front office to continue exploring the market for a potential Simmons trade.
This scenario has always been a strong possibility if the Sixers were unable to find a deal they liked, following Simmons’ trade demand. The three-time All-Star is currently losing approximately $360K for each game he misses and isn’t expected to be able to recoup that money down the road — a report last week indicated that those financial ramifications were starting to hit home for Simmons and his camp.
The 76ers, meanwhile, have maintained since the start of training camp that they want Simmons back in the fold. Wojnarowski says that stance hasn’t changed, tweeting that the organization wants to convince the 25-year-old that it’s the best place for him long-term.
While that may be public posturing, the team is better with Simmons on the court than without him, and Philadelphia may not be able to find a trade offer it likes until a couple months into the regular season. At that point, more players will become trade-eligible and some teams may be off to underwhelming starts, making them a little more desperate.
Still, it will be interesting to see what exactly it looks like if Simmons does report to the 76ers. Given how far down the road the standoff has progressed, it won’t be easy for the two sides to mend fences and move forward.
Simmons has been described as “mentally checked out,” so it seems unlikely that we’d see him return to peak form for a team he has been pushing hard to leave. I’m also skeptical that the fans in Philadelphia would welcome him back with open arms — being booed by the home crowd would make the situation even more uncomfortable for Simmons and the Sixers. As Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice and Zach Lowe of ESPN (Twitter link) observe, Simmons “reporting” to the team might not be the same as him actually “playing” for the club.
The 76ers have two preseason games left this week, on Monday and Friday. If Simmons hasn’t returned to the team by then, he’d have forfeited more than $1.4MM in salary. However, it’s possible that negotiating a reduction in that penalty is something Simmons’ camp has discussed with the Sixers.