Simmons has made it overwhelmingly clear that he no longer wants to be a part of the organization, refusing to attend practices and team activities throughout the week. But so far, Daryl Morey and the Sixers front office haven’t caved on the point guard’s demands.
It’s clear the organization is willing to keep this standoff going, and ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski gave the timeframe of just how long he thinks this could go on.
“The Sixers are going to try to keep forcing Ben Simmons to come in, to practice, to get in the lineup and play. And everyday he doesn’t do that, they can fine him for games missed, practices missed, meetings missed — those fines have been accumulating,” Woj said on Friday’s episode of Get Up. “The last thing they want to do is let Ben Simmons leave the team.”
Simmons signed a five-year, $170 million contract extension with the Sixers in 2019, locking him in under contract until 2025.
“I don’t think [the 76ers will] go four years, but I do think they’d go a full year of doing this,” Woj added.
The latest from @wojespn on the Ben Simmons situation in Philly:
"I don't think [the 76ers will] go four years, but I do think they'd go a full year of doing this." pic.twitter.com/YhTtolATu8
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) October 22, 2021
While Wojnarowski doesn’t believe Philly will wait this out for the full four years remaining on Simmons’ contract, Morey hasn’t ruled that out as a possibility.
“You’re going to think I’m kidding, I’m not, this could take four years,” the team president said during a recent interview with 97.5 The Fanatic “We’re in the prime of Joel (Embiid)’s career. This is not a day-to-day thing. Every day, we are going to expect Ben to be back here, or we trade him for a difference-maker.
“…People should buckle in, this is going to go a long time because our only task, my only job is to help us get the best chance to win the title,” he added.
Simmons was suspended for the Sixers’ season opener after he was kicked out of practice for “conduct detrimental to the team” earlier this week. After serving that suspension, the All-Star point guard arrived at team facilities with “back tightness” and claimed he was not mentally ready to participate. While he was cleared to participate in workouts, he left without doing so.
Without a single full team practice under his belt, Simmons’ participation in tonight’s home opener against the Nets is almost entirely out of the question.
While it currently appears that both side are unyielding in their resolve, Wojnaroski believes the Sixers’ leverage over Simmons (fines/withheld payment) will eventually coax him back onto the floor.
For now, the team will operate without their young star.