Six Teams Still Inquiring About Simmons’ Availability

The Timberwolves, Pacers, Cavaliers, Pistons, Raptors and Spurs continue to inquire about Ben Simmons’ availability, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports via a league source.

The Simmons saga is one of the major storylines of this preseason and it took another twist on Friday when reports surfaced that the Sixers were withholding an $8.25MM advance payment from their disgruntled playmaker.

However, as Pompey points out, this standoff could drag on until after December 15, when many free agents signed this summer can be included in trades.

The Sixers have put an exorbitant price tag on Simmons, in part while waiting to see if the Trail Blazers made Damian Lillard available or if the Wizards were willing to part with Bradley Beal. Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, tried to assist the Sixers in receiving a five-player package for Simmons in a three-team trade but Philadelphia’s asking price was too rich, according to Pompey.

The withheld salary has been placed in an escrow account. Simmons is likely to receive all the money in his contract once he’s traded, Pompey notes, since it’s expected the team that acquires him will waive the fines the Sixers have instituted for his refusal to show up for training camp.

The Inquirer’s beat writer explored the standoff in great detail. Here are some highlights:

  • Simmons’ desire to be traded was communicated to the front office just days after the team was eliminated from the playoffs. Paul told GM Elton Brand his client wanted out three days after the Hawks bounced the team out of the playoff chase. Brand then told president of basketball operations Daryl Morey.
  • When the Sixers asked why Simmons wanted out, Paul told them his client was “mentally exhausted,” says Pompey.
  • When Morey was hired last November, Simmons suspected he wouldn’t be with the franchise long-term. He was the centerpiece in trade talks with Morey’s former team, Houston, in the Sixers’ failed attempt to acquire James Harden. Simmons even went house shopping in Houston in anticipation of being dealt.
  • Simmons doesn’t have any ill will toward his All-Star teammate Joel Embiid, but believes their partnership on the court has “run its course.” Even if he does return to Philadelphia to rejoin the team, Simmons has no intentions of playing another game for the Sixers.
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