Is Ben Simmons ready to return to the Sixers?
by Henry L. Liao
Halloween is still three weeks away but this narrative may just a trick-or-treat game.
Disgruntled Ben Simmons ended his two-week holdout and reported to the Philadelphia 76ers, blinking and eating his words.
The 6-11 Aussie playmaker has not attended training camp and missed his third-straight preseason game against the visiting Brooklyn Nets.
Simmons, who has demanded a trade due to his disenchantment over Sixers coach Doc Rivers and teammate Joel Embiid for throwing him under the bus following last June’s stinging playoff loss, might want to return to the Quaker City squad only to showcase his game so that his trade value, now at an all-time low, will go up.
So far, Simmons has lost $1 million of his $33 million contract for 2021-22, including $360,000 for the first preseason home contest (vs. Toronto) that he had also missed.
The 76ers also have already withheld 25% of his paycheck – worth around $8.25 million – in an escrow. Based on a clause in his five-year, $177.2-million rookie max contract, which has four years and $147 million remaining, the 25-year-old Simmons is obligated to be paid 50% of his yearly salary by July 1 and Oct. 1. (That Oct. 1 payment has been withheld)
Philadelphia opens its 76th NBA campaign on Oct. 21 Manila time in New Orleans.
It seems the accumulating income loss has started to take its toll on Simmons. And that is why Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul of the Klutch Sports Group, and the Sixers management have started talking again after having no contact at all in the past four months following the 76ers’ seven-game loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA East semifinal playoffs last June.