Now a member of the Nets, Ben Simmons is expected to file a formal grievance against the Sixers at some point in the near future, league sources tell Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com. The goal will be to recoup some or all of the $20MM+ that Simmons lost in team fines during his season-long holdout in Philadelphia.
As Neubeck explains, the Sixers fined Simmons for each game he missed (costing him about $360K per game) because he didn’t meet with team doctors to discuss the mental health issues he cited as the reason for his absence and because the club never received documentation providing an explanation for his absence or details on his treatment plan. Neubeck’s sources likened the situation to a player suffering a physical injury and only consulting with an outside specialist, without keeping his team in the loop.
Neubeck suggests the reception Simmons gets in Philadelphia on Thursday when he sits on the Nets’ bench may play a part in his grievance — his camp will likely point to the vitriol he receives on Thursday as evidence for why he wasn’t mentally prepared to suit up again for the Sixers, according to Neubeck. Still, based on his conversations with league sources and people familiar with the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, Neubeck says the 76ers appear to be in a “much stronger position” in a potential arbitration case.
Here’s more on the Nets:
- LaMarcus Aldridge, who had already been ruled out for Tuesday’s game in Charlotte due to a right hip impingement, returned to Brooklyn to undergo an MRI, head coach Steve Nash said today. As Brian Lewis of The New York Post tweets, Nash said the results of that MRI were mostly good, but Aldridge won’t rejoin the team on its current road trip, so he’ll miss Thursday’s game in Philadelphia too.
- Speaking to reporters following the Nets’ loss to the Celtics on Sunday, point guard Kyrie Irving likened the Boston faithful who booed him every time he touched the ball to a “scorned girlfriend,” as Adam Zagoria of NJ.com writes. Irving also said that he feels like New York City mayor Eric Adams is “on my side,” though the private sector vaccine mandate that prevents Kyrie from playing in New York remains in place for now.
- In a conversation with Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com, Nets general manager Sean Marks admitted that it was frustrating to never really see the Nets’ Big Three of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Irving together and healthy for an extended period, but said he’s excited to see what the new-look core looks like when everyone is available.
- As part of his NBA 40 Under 40 series, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic profiles Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson, whom Marks refers to as a “great sounding board.” Peterson has played a key role in the Nets’ college scouting department and had a hand in the selections of Cam Thomas and Kessler Edwards last year, per Vorkunov.