PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

NBA: Simmons ready to sit out season as he pushes for 76ers exit

NBA journalist Ramona Shelburne reports that people close to Ben Simmons say he is prepared to miss the 2021/22 season in his efforts to get a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers.

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NBA: Ben Simmons ready to sit out season as he pushes for Philadelphia 76ers exit
Maddie Meyer AFP

Ben Simmons’ camp has let it be known that the wantaway point guard is prepared to sit out the whole of the 2021/22 season, and will accept any fines for being a no-show, as he looks to push through his departure from the Philadelphia 76ers.

Simmons missing from 76ers preseason training

Simmons has failed to turn up for Philadelphia’s preseason training camp, which kicked off with media day on Monday, with reports emerging that the 25-year-old no longer wants to play alongside fellow 76ers star Joel Embiid.

Per ESPN, the Sixers are open to moving Simmons on, but are yet to be tempted by any potential trades as they hold out for the best possible deal for the three-time All-Star. 

Franchises such as the San Antonio Spurs and the Minnesota Timberwolves have expressed an interest in Simmons, but the player's demands - he wants the team to be built around him - are also proving a stumbling block to resolving his future.

Philadelphia preparing big fines for Simmons

The 76ers’ intention is to fine the Australian $227,000 for every practice session he misses and $1.3 million in total if he stays away for the entire preseason, including games.

And with the start of the 2021/22 NBA campaign just under three weeks away, Simmons is facing further financial penalties if he remains AWOL going into the regular season.

Shelburne: "Will he sit all year? The answer right now is yes"

Speaking on ESPN show The Jump, the journalist Ramona Shelburne said Simmons’ attitude as things stand is that he is ready to play the waiting game in his bid to get a move: "When you talk to people close to Ben, you say: 'Worst case scenario, it takes all year. Will he sit all year?' The answer right now is yes.

“Now, they’re going to say that right now at the beginning of training camp, say that you’re willing to sit all year if that’s what it takes to get traded to a team that you feel more comfortable on, but let’s see what happens when you really start missing checks, when you really start missing basketball and when the league moves on without you.”

Simmons won't be a free agent for another four years

Simmons signed a five-year contract extension with the 76ers before the covid-19 pandemic and will not be a free agent until 2025, so his only way of leaving Philadelphia is if he is traded.

It would not be the first time the player has sat out an entire NBA season, although on the previous occasion it was because of injury. After being drafted by the 76ers in 2016, a foot problem ruled him out of the 2016/17 campaign, before he returned to fitness and claimed the Rookie of the Year award in 2017/18.

76ers to begin preseason against Raptors

The 76ers' preseason fixtures begin with a trip to Toronto to face the Raptors on 4 October, while their regular season kicks off with a road game against the New Orleans Pelicans on 20 October.