August 31, 2021
A day after The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that the Sixers trading Ben Simmons was "a matter of when—not if," it appears a deal could be happening sooner rather than later. At least that's what the 25-year-old All-Star guard is hoping happens.
According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Simmons has told Sixers brass that he wants out of Philly and that he will not report to training camp when it opens next month.
In a meeting with the 76ers last week in Los Angeles, Simmons told team co-managing partner Josh Harris, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, general manager Elton Brand and coach Doc Rivers that he no longer wants to remain a Sixer, according to multiple sources.
Sources said the three-time All-Star also does not intend to report to training camp.
A team spokesman declined to comment. [inquirer.com]
The Sixers have been shopping Simmons all offseason, but have yet to find a team willing to give up the type of pieces they're looking to get, which is reportedly an All-Star level talent — and more specifically Blazers guard Damian Lillard, who recently said he's staying in Portland (for now). Additionally, some of the reports that have come out surrounding Morey's asking price suggest that it's through the roof.
It will be interesting to see if the Sixers lower their asking price now that Simmons has officially asked out and apparently won't be reporting. But so far there's been no indication that's going to be case, as Brian Windhorst recently reported that the Sixers were prepared to enter the season with Simmons still on the roster as they continue to wait for what they consider fair market value. And given that this meeting appears to have happened before Windhorst's reporting, perhaps the Sixers aren't exactly ready to cave to Simmons' demands.
Here's more from Keith...
The organization does not want to trade Simmons for less than what it believes is fair market value. The four told Simmons they wanted him to report to the start of training camp on Sept. 28 and be a part of the team.
The source said, however, the Sixers’ inability to get fair market value isn’t Simmons’ fault.
Another source said there’s no shortage of teams still interested, but the problem is Morey is demanding a king’s ransom.
Simmons is fully aware the Sixers can fine him for holding out and failing to show up to training camp. But a source said money will not play a role in the decision-making for Simmons, who has four years and $147 million remaining on his deal. [inquirer.com]
So, who is going to blink first? That remains to be seen, but when asked whether he thought Simmons would be back at all, one of Pompey's sources "responded 'no,' resolutely."
What does appear to be clear is that Simmons' trade demand is not going to help the Sixers get any better offers, and won't help their quest for Lillard. If anything, it's going to have the opposite effect, as Philly just lost a ton of leverage in negotiations now that Simmons won't be reporting at all.
"League sources believe the Sixers will have a tough time getting what they perceive as fair market value under the circumstances," Pompey writes, before citing a Western Conference executive who suggests just that (and that Simmons wants to go to one of the three California teams).
“The kid said he’s not going back,” the executive told Pompey. “I’m not giving you what you’re demanding. They really messed this up.”
But, believe it or not, despite that, Pompey's source — which, at this point let's just say that it's clearly someone in Simmons' camp because *gestures at all the above quotes* — believes that the devaluing of Simmons isn't the players' fault. They believe it's mainly due to Doc Rivers' comments after the Hawks series, not the trade request, even though that Western Conference exec said precisely the opposite.
At the time, following a Game 7 loss in which Simmons passed up a wide open dunk late in the game for no apparent reason, Rivers was asked if he thought Simmons was capable of being a point guard on a championship-caliber team.
"I don't know the answer to that right now," Rivers admitted, before later walking back those comments a bit and saying he believed the team could fix him.
To hear Pompey's source tell it, that's the reason the Sixers can't get what they want. The counterpoint can be made that it was Simmons' play that led to those (honest and truthful) comments. But why his value is low is not the most important thing here. The simple fact that it is should be the main concern.
As is the fact that it seems like there's no turning back.
"The source believes it will be tough for Simmons to have a working relationship with the team moving forward," Pompey writes.
[UPDATE: 4:35 p.m.] — Apparently this is getting so ugly that Tyrese Maxey, another Klutch Sports client, could get dragged into it as well.
A few local Philadelphia based organizations had planned on partnering with Maxey on some community events. They were told to cancel those plans. Paul would not like Maxey to grow roots in Philly if he could be gone.— Jason Dumas (@JDumasReports) August 31, 2021
If that reporting is true, Tyrese Maxey should find a new agent, like now. An up-and-coming talent who is expected to have an increased role on a contending team being used as a pawn? So you and a more lucrative client can get some revenge? That's gross. Even for an agent.
[UPDATE: Wednesday, 12:08 p.m.] — After Kendrick Perkins tweeted that the rumor regarding Rich Paul trying to get Maxey out of Philly was "FALSE!!!", Dumas, who originally reported that, has completely walked back his original report.
Update: Tyrese Maxey is excited about this upcoming year with the Sixers as is Rich Paul and the 76ers. Paul does not want Tyrese out of Philly. However, the Ben Simmons situation is totally separate.— Jason Dumas (@JDumasReports) September 1, 2021
Nothing to see here, I guess.
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