The situation between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers continues to be a thing, even if we don't hear too much about the standoff anymore. Simmons is still on the Sixers and still refusing to play.
Everyone knew this would be costly for Simmons, who after this season still has three years and $114 million remaining on his contract. But until now we didn't know just how costly it would be.
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne published an in-depth article on Tuesday about where Simmons and the Sixers currently stand with each other, and a detailed timeline of how they got to where they are. Folded into that was a report on just how much money Simmons has lost to fines during the 2021-22 season so far. And it's a lot.
Simmons has lost over $19 million in fines since the season began (each missed game costs him $360,000). He hasn't cleared a paycheck since the $8.25 million (25% of his $33 million salary) that was due Oct. 1. Every two weeks the team sends a notice with an explanation of all the fines he has accumulated for failing to render services, instead of a $1.375 million paycheck. By the end of the season, if he does not play for the Sixers or any other team, Simmons could lose another $12 million.
In total, the Sixers have fined Simmons more than $19 million for missing 50 regular-season games, and his end-of-season total could top $30 million. Even though Simmons has made over $60 million in his career, that's still an extraordinary amount of money to lose.
However, Shelburne reported that Simmons' decision to not play until he's traded isn't about money. He simply wants out of Philly and doesn't care what he has to give up to accomplish that goal.
"We don't give a f*** about the money," one source close to Simmons says. "That's not what this is. It's hard for people to understand. But if you believe in what you're doing and that this is not the right situation for you, and you're trying to get to a better place, the money doesn't matter. Obviously it's a financial hit. But you adjust."
New gripes from Simmons' camp
Since all this began during the offseason, we've heard various reports on what exactly soured Simmons on the Sixers: issues with head coach Doc Rivers, issues with MVP candidate Joel Embiid and fan reaction — those are just a few. And now we have more to add to the ever-growing list of gripes Simmons reportedly has with the team.
According to sources close to Simmons, he's upset that Embiid seemed to blame him for last season's playoff loss, when Simmons did not blame Embiid for Embiid's poor showing in the playoffs against the Toronto Raptors in 2019. He's frustrated that Rivers didn't come to see him while he was training in Los Angeles last summer.
Simmons doesn't dispute that he didn't reply when Rivers texted and called him several times over the summer asking to see him. But in hindsight, Simmons feels Rivers and the Sixers could've done more, like show up at a well-known gym in the San Fernando Valley where he was training.
As Shelburne says, past slights "have become magnified with the passage of time," and, boy, does that ever seem true here. Embiid did comment on Simmons missing a wide open shot in their Game 7 playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks, calling it a "turning point" in the game. There's a difference between calling out a teammate (Embiid didn't even say Simmons' name) and fully blaming them for a loss produced by the entire team. Simmons may have lost sight of that as the months have gone on.
But what comes next feels like galaxy brain thinking. Simmons is reportedly upset that Rivers didn't come to Los Angeles and see him last summer, despite Simmons repeatedly ignoring Rivers' phone calls and texts. Now, the message someone is typically sending when they ignore calls and texts is "I don't want to see or talk to you," but Simmons is apparently upset that Rivers and the Sixers didn't ignore that and do more to see him.
That feels truly bonkers. The relationship between Simmons and the team was already incredibly delicate at that point, so why would Rivers, after receiving zero response to his offers to come see Simmons in person, want to show up unannounced and uninvited at the gym where Simmons trains?
Simmons has yet to make any public comment about anything, so we have no idea why he thinks Rivers would want to do that, or what he thinks about everything else that's gone on over the past eight months. We'll all have to be fine with staying in the dark, because it doesn't look like Simmons is going to change his mind about speaking to the media anytime soon. Unfortunately for pretty much everyone, it doesn't look like Simmons is leaving Philly anytime soon, either.