After months of speculation, Ben Simmons has informed the Sixers that he no longer wants to play for the team and won’t report to camp.
It has been clear that the Sixers and Ben Simmons have been heading for divorce for quite some time. With rumors swirling since the disappointing playoff exit, it has seemed to be a matter of “when” and not “if” when discussing his exit from Philly. This timeline was moved up greatly when a recent report by Keith Pompey indicated that Simmons intends to hold out of training camp.
Why it Makes Sense For Simmons:
With Simmons unwilling to report to camp next year, it now rules out the possibility of bringing him back with the hopes of increasing his value. Simmons is still under contract for four more years, leaving him with little leverage in the current situation. This public declaration to sit out is certainly a power move to gain some control in the situation, and likely one advised by his agent Rich Paul.
Rather than allowing himself to be continually shopped and playing for a team not committed to his future, Ben Simmons will seek closure on his time in Philadelphia. He will look to start next season in a new uniform and ensure that the rumors will not drag out further than they already have. A clean slate seems necessary for him at this point in his career as his poor playoff performance, and the mental struggles that occurred during it were put on display for all to see last season.
Impact on Sixers
This is a massive hit to the Sixers as it changes the timeline of when a deal can be done. With Dame Lillard seemingly content in Portland and no other superstar available, Daryl Morey has taken the patient route when searching for a deal this offseason. Demanding a sky-high return for their all-star has been the proper stance by Morey as he searches to find a better complimentary co-star to Joel Embiid.
The NBA trade market is a complicated beast. With each trade that occurs having an impact on the value every player around the league, timing is extremely important. Due to his poor playoff performance, Simmons’ value is at its all-time low, and the return that Morey is searching for simply may not be there.
While it is possible for Simmons to remain on the roster heading into next season, this would be a great risk taken by Morey. It would force Simmons to decide if the money is worth sacrificing and put the locker room in a state of disarray. It seems likely that his value will never be lower than it is right now, but having one of your max contract guys sit out is a situation no team wants to be in.
This has become an extremely difficult situation for the Sixers as if the proper deal is not found, their title chances with this core may be over. With Joel Embiid in the prime of his career and proving to be the superstar the franchise hoped he would grow into, the Sixers must capitalize on this window. Expect the trade rumors to heat up even more and for Morey to attack this situation with a new desire.