The Philadelphia 76ers did not pay Ben simmons the $ 8.25 million, 25% of his contract, owed to him on Friday and put that money into an escrow account, sources told ESPN.
Moving forward, the 76ers will deduct the fines that Simmons accrues as the season progresses. If, or when, Simmons shows up, he will be given the remaining money, sources told ESPN.
The next line of demarcation in this saga will come Monday, when the 76ers play their first preseason game in Toronto against the Raptors. If Simmons does not return to the team before that game, he will be fined approximately $ 227,000, the same amount that Simmons will be fined for each game he misses in the future.
Sources told ESPN that at the meeting between Simmons and the Philadelphia leadership last month, the team let Simmons know this was a possibility, and at the time, Simmons responded by saying he understood and would not change his position either on reporting to the team or rescinating your request for change.
“We’re in this for the long haul,” a source close to Simmons told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne this week.
When asked about the possibility of withholding this money from Simmons, who already received another $ 8.25 million on August 2, as his contract states that he will get two parts of 25% of his contract before the season begins, the president of Philadelphia basketball operations Daryl Morey declined to say what exactly would happen, but left this possibility open.
“I would say that we are not going to talk about the details of the fines or things like that, but I will say that it is quite clear in the collective agreement and in their contract what happens,” Morey said during his preseason press conference on Monday. .
When the 76ers returned to the court this week, and Simmons did not, the temperature in this situation only increased.
Morey tried to put a positive spin on it during his press conference on Monday, likening it to the tumultuous offseason between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, only for Rodgers to return and, the night before that press conference, lead Green Bay to a last-second victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
“I think there is a lot of hope,” Morey said. “I’d say I saw a player last night lead his team to victory when a thousand pounds of digital ink was spilled on how much he would never play for that team again.”
“Every situation is different, but we are very optimistic that we can make it work here.”
Take a look at the ups and downs of Ben Simmons’ time with the 76ers since being the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.
The superstar center Joel embiid He also initially expressed optimism about reuniting with Simmons, saying that he was disappointed that the situation got to the point that he is between the two parties, but that he still believes that he could win with him as his co-star.
“Honestly, I’d probably say I’m disappointed,” Embiid said. “Because I – look, obviously we have not gained anything, but following what has been said through the media and you tweeting about your sources and stuff, I would see it that way, look what we have been able to do … In the regular season we have been so good, and so dominant, that we know it is working … I am disappointed that we are in this situation … I am disappointed that he is not here, because he knows it too. He knows we can win together “.
Following a later report in The Athletic that Simmons had decided that he couldn’t actually win alongside Embiid, the star center responded during a lengthy response when asked about it by reporters after practice Thursday afternoon. .
“The situation is disappointing, almost disrespectful to all the players who are here fighting for their lives,” Embiid told reporters at the team’s practice facility in Camden, New Jersey, adding that the idea that the Sixers didn’t build their team around Simmons was also wrong.
“I feel like our teams have been built, whether it’s the need to have a shot or the 5 to create space and all that, I feel like [Simmons] always had it here. And we still have it, “Embiid said, before listing all the 3-point shooters on the list.” … Our teams have always been built around their needs. “
“It was a bit surprising,” Embiid added, referring to the report. “We will say it, even going back to the reason we signed Al [Allen Iverson]. We got rid of Jimmy [Butler], which I still think was a mistake, just to make sure [Simmons] he needed the ball in his hands. That is the decision they made. Like I said, it’s amazing. “
ESPN’s Bobby Marks contributed to this story.