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NBA

Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers in stalemate

Neither side is giving an inch in what has become a war of attrition between Ben Simmons and a franchise that wants it's return on investment.

Update:
With the NBA's trade deadline fast approaching, the speculation surrounding Ben Simmons' future is intensifying. Where will the All-Star point guard end up?

While there have been trade rumors connecting the Australian with varying teams, the fact is the situation remains unchanged.

Ben Simmons and the 76ers are in a stalemate

After a preseason which was heavily dominated by reports of a rift between the Sixers and their All-Star point guard, things have been relatively calm lately. With the onslaught of covid-19, the headlines were focused elsewhere and of course there was Joel Embid who essentially began to carry the team. Yet the reality is this: As the February 10th trade deadline draws closer, so to will the fervor surrounding Simmons' future intensify. Has anything changed in Simmons' situation? Frankly, no. Simmons has made it clear he does not want to play for the franchise again.

The Sixers for their part are only open to a trade if they can get an All-Star level player in return. For the moment it would appear that no team agrees with the Sixers' valuation of the player. According to reports Simmons' agent, Rich Paul, met with team president Daryl Morey and GM Elton Brand on Wednesday in order to discuss the player's future. It is understood that no progress was made, which only casts further doubt about where the saga ends.cuss the stalemate but there was no significant progress made.

Weighing up the Ben Simmons trade

The first thing to consider when mapping out the varying rumors and ramblings about Simmons' future is that should he be traded, he wouldn't be able to play immediately. Having been apart from his team and then later unable to train due to back and alleged mental health concerns, Simmons has not played or practiced in any serious way for quite some time now - he last played an NBA game in June. As can be assumed, he would need weeks of conditioning and preparation before he could reasonably be declared good to go. Understandably that will have an effect on any teams enthusiasm to enter the fray.

There are also other pertinent questions that teams will be asking themselves such as, 'With his unique attributes, is Ben Simmons suited to our roster, can he fit in?' That is of course without mentioning the concerns teams will have about his temperament. Having essentially forced his way out of one team, could he do the same again if he doesn't like the fit? Last but not least there is the simple mathematics of the scenario. Two months. That's the period of time between the trade deadline and the regular season's end. Does making a trade for a seemingly problematic player who can't play immediately even make sense?

It would be remiss not to mention in some way the situation surrounding Simmons' mental health. As was previously reported, there is a clause in the CBA that allows for players who are not mentally fit to avoid being fined should they refuse to perform their contractual obligations e.g. train and play. Simmons was subjected to heavy fines until his representatives invoked the aforementioned clause stating at the time that he was not "mentally ready" to play. The Sixers have repeatedly tried to have him work with their own medical professionals, however, he refused.

What do the 76ers do now?

It is clear that the Sixers intend to play hard ball. Simmons is signed until 2025 and still has $108.8 million remaining on his deal. With that in mind, one can imagine that the franchise will be firmly committed to getting close to if not all of the return on their investment. The problem, however, is that it would appear that Simmons also intends to hold his ground. Where the 76ers are concerned, the reality is that interest in Simmons has been tempered by the aforementioned numbers. On Simmons' end, the question becomes how long can he hold out should the trade deadline come and go without him being moved on?

Where could Ben Simmons go?

In spite of all of the concerns surrounding Simmons, there are in fact a few teams who are known to be interested. According to reports from NBA correspondent Marc Stein, the Atlanta Hawks are one such team. There is also the case of the Minnesota Timberwolves. With known interest in Simmons as well as recent reports reiterating the fact, it is understood that Minnesota are currently watching and waiting with keen interest. 

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