All-Star PG Ben Simmons plans to skip training camp with the Philadelphia 76ers and intends to never play for the franchise again, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday morning.
ESPN Sources: Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons will not report for opening of training camp next week and intends to never play another game for the franchise. Simmons hasn’t spoken to team since a late August meeting when he communicated this message to Sixers officials.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 21, 2021
Simmons trade rumors have been swirling since the Sixers were eliminated by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2021 NBA playoffs. Philly had been reluctant to deal the All-Star and hasn’t found a new home for him the entire offseason. Now, with training camp looming at the end of September, we know Simmons won’t be there and that a deal needs to be made before the start of the 2021-22 season, which is October 19th.
There had been reports that the Sixers would try to convince Simmons to report to camp and stick it out with the franchise. Those hopes appear to be dead with this report from Woj. Joel Embiid and Simmons apparently had a minor beef which the All-Star center tried to squash on social media this summer.
The team always had to make a decision on whether or not Simmons and Embiid could co-exist and win on the same team. This past playoffs sort of told us it’s not possible and someone needed to go. That person became Simmons after his reluctance to shoot and overall poor performance in the postseason. Now the Sixers have to deal with this distraction while preparing for a pretty important season.
Simmons’ contract is the biggest road block in any deal. He’s on a max deal in which he’ll get paid north of $31 million and upwards of $38 million per season until 2024-25. Simmons is a versatile defender and dynamic playmaker, but also doesn’t fit in with the style of today’s NBA and teams are clearly hesitant to strike a deal given the asking price and salary. The Sixers also have two more seasons before Embiid’s salary jumps up to $43 million, which will make it tougher to operate under the salary cap.
Which teams haven’t been linked to Simmons? It seems like everyone has been rumored to be interested in the All-Star, though none of them have had the stones to pull the trigger on a deal. The latest team is the Minnesota Timberwolves, who could look to move picks and young assets to add Simmons to a core of Anthony Edwards/D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns.