The final chapter in the Ben Simmons’ saga may be written on Thursday night. Well, assuming the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets don’t meet each other in the playoffs.
Simmons is scheduled to show up at Wells Fargo Center and sit on the bench, according to Nets coach Steve Nash. He wants to support his new teammates. Blah, blah, blah. According to Philly Voice’s Kyle Neubeck, the real reason Simmons plans to be there is to strengthen his case as he and Klutch Sports get set to file a “formal grievance” against the Sixers.
Simmons wants to recoup the $20 million he lost in fines from the Sixers. By showing up — and presumably getting heckled all night — the diva guard can prove the environment in Philly was too stressful for a player suffering from mental health issues.
The Sixers are planning to add increased security on Thursday, per Neubeck, and “Philadelphia’s treatment of Simmons will be under the microscope.” It’s all a ploy to get that $20 million back in his bank account. It won’t work.
“Based on conversations with league sources and several people familiar with the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, the early indication is that the Sixers are in a much stronger position here,” Neubeck wrote. “That has seemed true throughout this process, including when Simmons’ representation approached the players association in early October about their ability to recoup money from this standoff, though it will ultimately be up to an independent arbitrator if and when this process moves forward.”
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Kevin Durant Comments on Heckling
Kevin Durant — Simmons’ new teammate in Brooklyn — thinks the star point guard should be able to take the abuse from angry Sixers fans for a couple of hours. He cited the fact that Simmons makes $40 million a year (it’s actually $33 million this year) as one major reason why. Durant also poked some fun at basketball hecklers and their “s***** lives.”
“That’s one of those things that he’s going to have to experience for himself,” Durant said of Simmons. “Nobody’s going to hold his hand. I’m sure there’s going to be some personal attacks. There may be some words that may trigger you personally but that’s just how fans are.
“They want to get under our skin, they want their voices to be heard, and I think part of the experience of coming to an NBA game is the heckling. They don’t even enjoy basketball, they just like, ‘their lives are so s***** that they got to just aim it at other people at a basketball game.”
Simmons Responding to Fans on Instagram?
The Simmons’ drama continued to play itself out on Instagram where the three-time All-Star had the audacity to reply to comments on a report he was planning to sit on the Nets’ bench in Philadelphia.
Barstool Philly wrote “CAN’T WAIT” underneath the post while another user added: “Already booing.” To which Simmons replied: “Likewise.” (h/t to Drew Smith of Liberty Line for uncovering this gem). We’re not even sure what “likewise” was supposed to mean. Is he going to boo himself? Either way, Simmons is in for a treat on March 10.