Sixers Rumors

Stein’s Latest: Simmons, Sixers, NBPA Executive Director

The structure of Ben Simmons‘ contract may embolden him in his plans to hold out from the Sixers, Marc Stein of Substack writes in his latest newsletter. As Stein explains, Simmons received 25% of his 2021/22 salary on August 1 and will receive another 25% on October 1, meaning he’ll already have earned half of his $33MM salary for the season by the time the preseason starts.

[RELATED: Ben Simmons Adamant About Not Attending Camp, Not Playing For Sixers]

League rules permit the Sixers to assess substantial fines for each game he misses during his holdout (approximately $228K per game), but Stein suggests those fines won’t be docked from Simmons’ pay until November, after the first pay period of the regular season. If Simmons was on a more traditional payment schedule, those fines would be more costly, but it will take a while for them to put a dent into the $16.5MM he’ll already have earned this season.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Don’t expect the Sixers and Simmons to follow the blueprint that Al Horford and the Thunder or John Wall and the Rockets have, according to Stein. While those rebuilding teams were comfortable holding out their veteran players until they found a suitable trade partner, the 76ers continue to try to convince Simmons to report to training camp and have “zero interest” in reaching a mutual agreement to allow the three-time All-Star to remain away from the team, says Stein.
  • According to Stein, many of the teams that have engaged the Sixers in Simmons trade talks – including the Timberwolves, Raptors, Spurs, Cavaliers, and Kings – typically aren’t major players in free agency, and like the idea of securing a young impact player who is under contract for four years. However, most of those teams don’t have stars that would interest Philadelphia, or have made them unavailable in trade negotiations (such as the Wolves with Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, or the Kings with De’Aaron Fox).
  • The NBPA has enlisted Chicago-based search firm Heidrick & Struggles to help seek out a new executive director to replace Michele Roberts, according to Stein, who says that “well-placed observers” believe Roberts’ replacement could be an unexpected selection who hasn’t yet been publicly identified.
  • Stein, who previously named Malik Rose as a candidate to become the NBPA’s executive director, suggests Noah Croom, Arne Duncan, Nichole Francis Reynolds, Pat Garrity, and Mark Termini are other viable contenders for the job. Croom and Garrity are veteran team executives, Termini is a longtime player agent, and Duncan and Reynolds work outside of the NBA in education/politics and business, respectively.

Ben Simmons Adamant About Not Attending Camp, Not Playing For Sixers

While the Sixers have tried to encourage Ben Simmons to show up for training camp next week, the three-time All-Star hasn’t budged from his stance, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

According to Wojnarowski, Simmons won’t report for camp and intends not to play another game for Philadelphia. He hasn’t spoken to the team at all since August, when he conveyed his plan not to attend training camp, Wojnarowski adds.

As Wojnarowski explains, Simmons is aware of the possible penalties he could face as a result of not attending camp, including fines and a suspension. However, he appears prepared to play hardball with the team, with the regular season just four weeks away.

Despite Simmons’ strong stance, his leverage may be somewhat limited. He still has four years and $147MM left on his contract and Philadelphia probably has a playoff-caliber roster even without him on the court, which means the Sixers can afford to be relatively patient in finding a deal they like. If Simmons doesn’t report, the team could recoup much of his salary via fines.

Sources told Kyle Neubeck of on Monday that the 76ers were expecting “some sort of absence” from Simmons to open the preseason. However, Neubeck also says that most people believe the 25-year-old will eventually show up, given the unprecedented nature of a lengthy holdout in the modern NBA.

Philadelphia’s asking price for Simmons was extremely high throughout the offseason, given his age, his résumé, and the fact that he’s under contract for four more years. That price may come down a little now, but the Sixers appear unwilling to accept 50 cents on the dollar for a player like Simmons, who is limited by his lack of a jump shot but is still one of the league’s best play-makers and defenders.

As Neubeck writes, the 76ers could probably get a deal done today if they were willing to accept a package heavy on young players and draft picks, but they remain focused on a return that won’t compromise their ability to contend for a title in 2022.

“There are a few deals you could say, we do this, and we’ll gamble that sometime later, we’ll take draft picks and turn it back into having (a title) chance,” one team source told Neubeck. “But why do that? … There’s no reason to go get draft picks right now because you could just do it all at once. Why take the risk that you do that and you can’t flip back out of it? It makes no sense with Joel (Embiid) in his prime.”

Sixers Still Hope To Get Ben Simmons In Camp

The Sixers remain determined to convince Ben Simmons to report to training camp, Marc Stein of Substack tweets. It’s still expected that Simmons will not show up, Stein adds.

The Simmons saga has been one of the bigger storylines during the offseason. Reports surfaced three weeks ago that Simmons informed the team he wanted to be dealt and wouldn’t report to camp. He made his feelings known to team owner Josh Harris, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, general manager Elton Brand, and head coach Doc Rivers in a meeting in Los Angeles.

Simmons has four years and nearly $147MM remaining on his contract. Philadelphia has reportedly engaged in talks with several potential suitors, including the Timberwolves, Raptors, Cavaliers, Pacers, Kings, Spurs, and Warriors. However, the Sixers have a high asking price and Simmons’ value has been diminished by his shooting woes, particularly on the perimeter and at the foul line.

Simmons, the top pick in the 2016 draft, posted career lows in scoring (14.3), rebounding (7.2), assists (6.9) and shot attempts (10.1) last season. Philadelphia is willing to work with Simmons to improve his offensive game but Simmons seems intent on a fresh start.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Sixers, Simmons, Horford

Having already received clearance to play their home games in Toronto in 2021/22 after spending last season in Tampa, the Raptors are now waiting to see whether the Ontario provincial goverment will allow them to play in front of full-capacity crowds at Scotiabank Arena, writes Kevin McGran of The Toronto Star.

Both the Raptors and the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs – who share Scotiabank Arena – intend to only allow fully vaccinated individuals to attend games. They’re expecting to get an answer from government officials this week, per McGran.

“With a fully vaccinated venue, it is our belief that we can safely host a full capacity event,” MLSE spokesperson Dave Haggith said. “With tickets on sale, we are planning for eventual full capacity in 2021 and our ticketing rollout has built-in flexibility so we are ready for potential scenarios.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • With the Ben Simmons situation still unresolved, Rich Hofmann of The Athletic examines what the Sixers‘ rotation might look like in 2021/22 both with Simmons and without him. Tyrese Maxey, Shake Milton, and Furkan Korkmaz would receive the biggest minutes boosts if Simmons holds out and hasn’t yet been traded.
  • Jared Dubin of FiveThirtyEight considers what past trades of All-Stars can tell us about the Simmons situation. As Dubin outlines, pieces-and-picks packages are typically the most common returns for All-Star players, while the Sixers are seeking a star-for-star deal, increasing the degree of difficulty.
  • Al Horford‘s return to the Celtics means the team will be able to comfortably run out lineups featuring two big men again. Jared Weiss of The Athletic explains why that’s a good thing for Boston.

Community Shootaround: Who Gets Traded First, John Wall Or Ben Simmons?

Sixers star Ben Simmons has been in the NBA’s oddest situation all summer, but Rockets guard John Wall may have surpassed him this week.

Wall and Houston management have reportedly reached an agreement to work together to find him a new team, and he won’t play in any games until that happens. Wall will report to training camp and will remain around the team, but there are no plans for him to have any on-court action. Wall reportedly hasn’t asked for a trade, but at age 31 and with his history of injuries, he’s not in the long-term plans for the rebuilding Rockets.

The major impediment to dealing Wall is his contract, which will pay him $44.3MM this season, with a $47.4MM player option for 2022/23. Wall could theoretically make himself more tradable by agreeing to turn down the option in hopes of working out a long-term contract with his new team, just as Chris Paul did with the Suns.

Also limiting the market for Wall is his sparse playing time over the past three seasons, brought on by heel surgery and a ruptured Achilles tendon. He managed to play 40 games last season, averaging 20.7 points and 8.7 assists in 32.2 minutes per night, but wasn’t ever used in both games of back-to-back situations and was shut down in late April with a hamstring injury.

The Rockets are reportedly unwilling to part with multiple first-round picks as an incentive for a team to take Wall and are reluctant to take on unwanted long-term salaries, which further limits their options for finding a trade partner.

Simmons, of course, has been the subject of trade rumors since his baffling performance in the playoff loss to Atlanta. He took offense to comments made by coach Doc Rivers after the conclusion of that series and has threatened to hold out of training camp if the team doesn’t trade him by then.

The Kings, Timberwolves and Warriors have been among the teams most prominently mentioned as potential landing spots for Simmons, but sources say Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has set a very steep asking price. Simmons is reportedly “in step” with Philadelphia’s efforts to move him, but has expressed a desire to go to the Lakers, Clippers or Warriors rather than a rebuilding organization.

Numerous reporters have expressed doubt about whether Wall or Simmons will be traded any time soon, but we want your opinion. Which of these players do you expect to wind up with a new team first? Please leave your answer in the comments section.

Should Tyrese Maxey Start?

  • Would the Sixers benefit from Tyrese Maxey‘s offensive skills in the starting lineup? Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice takes a closer look at whether playing Maxey with the other starters would make Philadelphia a better postseason team in the long run.

Lakers Notes: Anthony, LeBron, Nunn, Coaching Staff

Carmelo Anthony was hoping to return to the Trail Blazers this summer before LeBron James urged him to join the Lakers, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Appearing on Haynes’ “Posted Up” podcast, Anthony said he was waiting to see if Portland was interested in bringing him back when James reached out to him. Anthony spent the last two years with the Blazers, but said management didn’t contact him about a return.

“No, not the way I thought. But honestly, I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “… Not to say Portland did anything wrong, but I was sitting around because I’m a loyal person. I didn’t want to leave (Damian Lillard) and CJ (McCollum) and those guys. But I know the business.”

In addition to his long friendship with James, Anthony chose the Lakers because he sees the team as his best hope to cap off his career with a championship. He told Haynes that several other organizations expressed interest, which felt good after being out of the league two years ago.

“New York was always there, always a story,” Anthony said. “I told my son when he made it to high school, I’d be there. Philly, I didn’t get a chance to converse with Philly, but there was interest. New Orleans had interest. It felt good to see that again and being a part of teams being interested in me when 18-20 months again, it was nobody.”

There’s more from L.A.:

  • James has played fewer minutes per game each season since 2016/17, and Jovan Buha of The Athletic expects that trend to continue this year. James will turn 37 in December and the Lakers will be try to be careful with him to avoid the kind of long-term injury he had last season.
  • Of all the players the Lakers added in free agency, Kendrick Nunn was probably the most surprising, Buha adds in the same piece. The former Heat guard signed for the taxpayer mid-level exception, and Buha speculates that he could have gotten a better offer from another team. Buha also questions whether Nunn will get the playing time he’s used to with Russell Westbrook handling most of the minutes at point guard.
  • The Lakers have officially announced the additions of David Fizdale and John Lucas III as assistant coaches (Twitter link). Both hires were previously reported.

Atlantic Notes: Brown, Simmons, Ntilikina

Veteran journeyman wing Anthony Brown is set to work out for the Celtics this week, per Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando.

Drafted with the No. 34 selection out of Stanford in 2015 by the Lakers, Brown played sparingly for the Lakers and their NBA G League affiliate, then called the Los Angeles D-Fenders (now the South Bay Lakers). In the NBA, he later played for the Pelicans, Magic, and Timberwolves, in addition to suiting up for the NBAGL affiliates for the latter two teams.

Brown played just 41 games across three NBA seasons. He holds averages of 3.9 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 18.6 MPG. Since his last league stint during the 2017/18 NBA season, Brown has played for a variety of international clubs in Serbia, France, and Spain.

The Celtics currently have 14 players inked to guaranteed deals on their 2021/22 roster, and just one of their two-way player slots filled.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers All-Star Ben Simmons has lost a lot of his trade value following a disappointing postseason performance. In a new mailbag column, Derek Bodner of The Athletic explains that he would be open to Philadelphia team president Daryl Morey targeting draft picks as the primary return in a Simmons deal. By making this kind of move, Morey and his front office team could potentially deal for a star player beyond the caliber of the personnel teams may be making available for Simmons at present.
  • Former Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina, the eighth draft pick in 2017, never lived up to his promise while with New York. Moke Hamilton of Basketball News examines the forces at fault for the current free agent’s underwhelming first four seasons. Then-team president Phil Jackson generally shoulders much of the blame for selecting Ntilikina in the draft ahead of Donovan Mitchell, Bam Adebayo, and Malik Monk, all lottery-caliber players drafted after the 6’4″ guard who have already proven themselves to be NBA mainstays. “[Ntilikina] obviously had the physical gifts to be an impact player in the league, but there were two or three other guys that got support because they seemed much safer,” a Knicks source told Hamilton. Hamilton also opines that the team’s lack of stability in its coaches hurt Ntilikina’s development. In four seasons, the point guard played for four different head coaches. Hamilton speculates that, should Ntilikina want to remain in the NBA this season, the 23-year-old should be able to find a team willing to take a flyer on the defensive specialist.
  • In case you missed it, new Lakers center DeAndre Jordan‘s departure from the Nets apparently became inevitable after the team retained Blake Griffin this summer, in addition to signing Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge. Promising big man Nicolas Claxton also leaped ahead of Jordan in the center rotation during the 2020/21 season.

2021/22 NBA Over/Unders: Atlantic Division

The 2021/22 NBA regular season will get underway next month, so it’s time to start getting serious about predictions for the upcoming campaign and to resume an annual Hoops Rumors tradition.

With the help of the lines from a handful of sports betting sites, including Bovada and BetOnline, we’re running through the predicted win totals for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. In a series of team-by-team polls, you’ll get the chance to weigh in on whether you think those forecasts are too optimistic or too pessimistic.

In 2020/21, our voters went 17-13 on their over/under picks. Can you top that in ’21/22?

As a reminder, the NBA played a 72-game schedule in 2020/21, so a team that won 41 games last year finished with a 41-31 record. This year, a club that wins 41 games would be a .500 team (41-41). For added clarity, we’ve noted the record that each team would have to achieve to finish “over” its projected win total.

We’ll kick things off today with the Atlantic division…

Brooklyn Nets

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Nets poll.

Philadelphia 76ers

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Sixers poll.

Boston Celtics

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Celtics poll.

New York Knicks

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Knicks poll.

Toronto Raptors

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Raptors poll.

Sixers, Charles Bassey Remain At Impasse In Contract Talks

On the morning of the July 29 draft, the Sixers sent $2MM to the Pelicans in order to acquire the No. 53 pick, which they used later that night on Western Kentucky big man Charles Bassey. However, a month-and-a-half later, Bassey is one of the only 2021 draft picks who remains unsigned.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported two weeks ago that Bassey planned to sign his one-year, non-guaranteed minimum-salary tender from the 76ers. He hasn’t officially accepted that deal yet, leaving the door open for the two sides to come to a longer-term agreement. However, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic details, the Sixers and Bassey remain at an impasse in their negotiations.

Bassey isn’t upset about being selected by Philadelphia or concerned about a possible lack of playing time behind veteran centers Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond, according to Bodner, who says the dispute between the rookie and the team is “purely contractual.”

As Bodner writes, Bassey and his camp made it clear to teams before the draft that he wasn’t interested in signing a two-way contract, and that he’d be seeking a multiyear deal with a two-year guarantee. Sources tell The Athletic that there was one team willing to meet that asking price if Bassey had gone undrafted, which the 76ers and other teams were aware of at the time of the draft.

While the Sixers are willing to give Bassey a spot on their 15-man roster and not just a two-way deal, they’ve only been willing to guarantee his salary for one season on their three-year offer, says Bodner.

In short, Bassey is seeking a contract that matches the offer he believes he would’ve received if he had gone undrafted, while Philadelphia believes it’s offering a deal that’s more than fair for a player drafted at No. 53.

A multiyear guarantee is rare for a player selected that late in the draft — No. 51 pick Brandon Boston did get a two-year guarantee from the Clippers this year, but everyone else picked in that range, including Luka Garza (No. 52), Sandro Mamukelashvili (No. 54), and Aaron Wiggins (No. 55) signed two-way contracts. Besides Boston, no player selected after No. 43 this year has received a full multiyear guarantee. A year ago, the lowest draftee to receive a two-year guarantee was another Sixer: No. 49 pick Isaiah Joe.

According to Bodner, Bassey has been working out at the Sixers’ training facility and has impressed the coaches and front office personnel who have seen him in action, so he should be in the team’s plans for 2021/22 whether he accepts his one-year tender or works out a longer-term agreement.

If he signs the one-year tender, Bassey would be eligible for restricted free agency in 2022, which would give him the opportunity to bet on himself at that point. If he were to accept Philadelphia’s current offer instead, the 20-year-old would be under team control for two more years, but with no real security, since his salaries for those years would be non-guaranteed.