The Sixers played their first game of the 2021 preseason on Monday, and – as expected – Ben Simmons wasn’t in the building. The three-time All-Star continues his holdout, having not reported to the team for the 2021/22 season.
The 76ers already withheld an $8.25MM advance payment for Simmons for failing to uphold the terms of his contract, placing that money in an escrow account. According to Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks of ESPN, the team now intends to fine the 25-year-old for each preseason and regular season game he misses.
Those fines – which will come out of the escrow account for the time being – will be worth 1/91.6th of Simmons’ salary for 2021/22, per Bontemps and Marks. That means Simmons will lose about $360K of his $33MM salary for each game he misses, starting with Monday’s contest.
Those penalties will add up quickly. If Simmons sits out the preseason and extends his holdout into the regular season, he’ll have missed 10 games by the end of October — the equivalent of $3.6MM in lost salary.
That fine money won’t be easy for Simmons to recoup. If he’s eventually traded, his new team can’t agree to pay him the lost money, according to ESPN’s duo. That contradicts a weekend report which suggested that Simmons’ new team might be able to waive his fines. Bontemps and Marks says the only path for Simmons to get his fine money back would be by reaching a settlement with the 76ers, and point out that Philadelphia has little incentive to negotiate such a settlement.
Here’s more on Simmons:
- Ian Begley of SNY.tv, confirming that the Sixers and Pacers have talked about the possibility of a Simmons trade, reports that Caris LeVert was among the players discussed in those negotiations. However, Begley cautions that it’s unclear whether talks between the two teams progressed beyond exploratory conversations.
- Begley also says the Kings are among the clubs still eyeing Simmons, adding them to the list of six teams with ongoing interest reported over the weekend.
- According to Begley, members of several organizations around the NBA have privately stated they hope the Sixers don’t trade Simmons, since it would set a bad precedent to relent to a player’s demands when he still has four years left on his contract. Chris Mannix of SI.com spoke to one Eastern Conference executive who expressed that view plainly. “F–k that,” the executive said. “You let a guy force his way out with four years left on a max contract and you set a terrible precedent. They can’t cave.”
- Simmons has put one of his residences in the Philadelphia area up for sale and may put the other one on the market as well, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. While monitoring a player’s real estate holdings typically isn’t a reliable way to suss out his future plans, it’s probably safe to assume there’s a correlation in this case.