The Philadelphia 76ers appear set to run it back with the same starting five from last season. Following a whirlwind offseason filled with Ben Simmons’ trade rumors, it looks like the three-time All-Star will remain in Philly for the 2021-22 campaign. May wonders never cease.
Simmons, who has been working on his jumper this summer, will be the starting point guard for the Sixers once again. According to Michael Kaskey-Blomain of CBS Sports, trade talks have stalled and the team is “prepared to have him on the roster” when training camp begins on Sept. 28. Now whether Simmons actually shows up is another story. There have been reports that the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up intends to sit out camp if he’s not traded.
Said ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins: “Ben Simmons is not answering the phone calls, he don’t want to be with the 76ers, and from what I heard, he’s willing not to report to training camp, and will go as long as it takes for him to get out of Philly.”
Simmons is due $33 million in base salary this season (via Spotrac) after inking a five-year, $177 million max contract in 2020. His deal includes a 15% trade kicker, meaning Simmons would receive a bonus worth 15% of the remaining money on his deal if he’s dealt. It also has “Rose Rule” language that increases his value based on All-NBA honors. Simmons was named third-team All-NBA in 2020.
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Simmons’ Agent Being Sued by Ex-Sixers Center
Nerlens Noel was the sixth overall pick of the Sixers in 2013, a key piece at the beginning of “The Process” who was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in 2017. Philadelphia was attempting to bring Noel back into the fold for depth behind Joel Embiid in 2019, but his agent – Rich Paul of Klutch Sports – refused to negotiate with the Sixers (via reports).
Now Noel is suing the agency for lost wages. Darren Heitner reported the following (via Sports Agent Blog):
Noel allegedly learned from Brett Brown, who was coaching the Philadelphia 76ers at the time, that the 76ers front office had been trying to contact Paul to discuss a potential deal and that Paul refused to respond. This was purportedly the case with other team representatives who were reaching out as well.
Noel was led to believe he would secure a max contract in free agency. Instead, the 27-year-old center was forced to sign a $4.1 million qualifying offer for one season. Why is this noteworthy? Because Paul – Noel has since hired a new agent – represents Simmons.
Simmons Promised to be ‘Honest’ with Himself
After losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Simmons took unprecedented heat for shrinking under pressure. The most noticeable evidence came when he turned down a wide-open slam dunk opportunity.
Simmons was blasted by fans and media on social media. Simmons wouldn’t own up to that gaffe, but he did vow to work on his game in the offseason. He promised to be “honest” with himself.
“You gotta be honest with yourself and you can’t take games for granted especially in the playoffs. Every game matters, every possession matters,” Simmons said after Game 7. “I got to do what I got to do and work on my game, get better. We just lost Game 7, never let the highs get too high and the lows get too low. Shit, more work, need to get my mind right and my body right for next season and do what I can control.”