The terms of Ben Simmons‘ contract with the Sixers call for him to receive 25% of his $33MM salary for the 2021/22 season on October 1, after he received the first 25% on July 1. However, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the 76ers don’t intend to give Simmons that advance payment of roughly $8.25MM on Friday.
Philadelphia’s stance is that Simmons is not fulfilling the terms of his contract by not reporting to training camp, according to Fischer, who says that league-office personnel and players’ union officials believe the Sixers are within their rights to withhold that payment.
ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, Brian Windhorst, and Bobby Marks confirm (via Twitter) that the Sixers won’t give Simmons that $8.25MM today, noting that the team has put that money into an escrow account. The fines he accrues will come out of that amount going forward, per the ESPN trio.
There had been some uncertainty about whether the 76ers would take this route, since refusing to pay such a large sum would escalate the standoff with Simmons and perhaps make a resolution less likely. However, a resolution has never seemed especially likely anyway, and there has also been a sense that the league – and other team owners – would want to see Philadelphia take a strong stance to discourage other players from holding out in the same manner.
One source close to the situation told Marc Stein of Substack (Twitter link) that Simmons’ camp believes he’ll get the money one way or another — even if the Sixers withhold that $8.25MM for the time being, Simmons could still eventually get it (minus fines) via an arbitration process or by reaching a resolution with the team. Additionally, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN noted on his latest Hoop Collective podcast, if and when a trade gets completed, Simmons’ new club would likely do all it can to make sure he gets paid in full to avoid starting the relationship off on the wrong foot.
Interestingly, Fischer says there have been “growing whispers” among his sources this week that Simmons could respond by reporting to the 76ers and saying that he’s injured. If he’s found to have a legitimate injury, Simmons wouldn’t be compelled to actually take the court for Philadelphia, but the team would still be required to pay him. However, Fischer’s sources may simply be speculating — Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) suggests that Simmons still isn’t showing up and understands the ramifications of his absence.
A trade remains the best way to end this staredown between the Sixers and their three-time All-Star, but Fischer reiterates that no deal appears close.
According to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link), new Timberwolves head of basketball operations Sachin Gupta has touched base with Philadelphia since receiving his promotion, but the Sixers have never seemed enthused about Minnesota’s trade assets, and that hasn’t changed since Gersson Rosas‘ dismissal.