76ers coach Doc Rivers said he didn’t know whether Ben Simmons could be point guard on a championship team. 76ers star Joel Embiid called Simmons passing up an open dunk the turning point of Philadelphia’s playoff loss. The 76ers have spent the offseason trying to trade Simmons.
At this point, Simmons doesn’t want to return Philadelphia.
And he’s ready to take drastic steps to prove it.
In a meeting with the 76ers last week in Los Angeles, Simmons told team co-managing partner Josh Harris, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, general manager Elton Brand and coach Doc Rivers that he no longer wants to remain a Sixer, according to multiple sources.
Sources said the three-time All-Star also does not intend to report to training camp.
The four told Simmons they wanted him to report to the start of training camp on Sept. 28 and be a part of the team.
Everyone still expected Philadelphia to trade Simmons eventually. Now, the 76ers just lose leverage amid perception they have a mess on their hands.
Philadelphia could escalate matters further by fining and suspending Simmons if he actually holds out. If Simmons holds out more than 30 days once training camp opens, he won’t be credited with a year of service for the 2021-22 season.
However, there’s a playbook – seemingly used by Mo Williams and threated by Kyrie Irving – to undergo surgery and stay away from the team that way. Many NBA players have some physical issue that could be cleaned up with surgery. It’s difficult for a team to punish a player for missing time due to post-surgery recovery.
These are all several steps down the road, though. Simmons hasn’t even actually held out yet.
But it sounds like, absent a trade, that’s coming. Then, it’s not hard to imagine how the situation spirals from there.