As the start of the 2021-22 NBA training camp approaches, the Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons remain in a standoff that doesn’t appear to be ending without a trade.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, 76ers players wanted to fly to meet with Ben Simmons to help convince him to play this season but he informed them ‘out of courtesy’ to not make the cross-country commute since he won’t be changing his mind.
“Philadelphia 76ers players wanted to travel to Los Angeles this week to meet with Ben Simmons and spend time convincing their All-Star teammate to commit to the 2021-22 season with them, but they were informed not to come and that Simmons did not want to meet, sources tell The Athletic.
“The core leaders on the 76ers — such as Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Matisse Thybulle — and most of the team were set to take a jet to see Simmons before being turned away, sources said. Multiple sources said Simmons didn’t want his teammates, some of whom he considers friends, to make the Philadelphia-to-Los Angeles commute out of courtesy because he won’t change his mind on wanting a trade.”
The priority for Simmons remains to play anywhere but in Philadelphia going forward. The possibility of fines does not seem to be something that will move him in order to make his return to the team. The 76ers’ leverage in trade talks will decline significantly the longer he accepts fines in favor of showing up.
There is little incentive for a potential trade suitor to rush into getting a trade complete before more of this situation plays out. The longer Simmons does not show up, the more pressure is placed on the 76ers to not waste a year of Joel Embiid’s prime by having a max contract recipient not showing up.