We are just days away from the beginning of training camp and the situation between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers doesn't appear to be moving in either direction.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Simmons intends to hold out on camp, as he hopes for a trade away from the franchise.
Complicating the situation is the contract status of Simmons, who has four years remaining left on his deal. If he does refuse to report and the Sixers aren't able to execute a trade, it looms as a major distraction for a Philadelphia franchise hoping to contend for a championship.
In that instance, financial sanctions can be handed out, with a reported figure of $227,613 to be potentially forfeited for every practice and game missed in line with the CBA.
What is the likelihood of a trade?
This is where it becomes messy for the Sixers.
A shock elimination in the second round of the playoffs and a poor postseason performance has left the Australian's trade value at it's lowest point since he entered the league. To make matters worse, Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid hardly wrapped their arms around him in the postgame media conference after Game 7.
When you factor in the lack of star power currently on the trade block, the Sixers find themselves between a rock and hard place.
If Simmons sits at home and is happy to absorb financial sanctions, will the Sixers crack and settle for the best available deal if the season gets off to a rocky start? Maybe that's what Rich Paul and Klutch Sports are hoping for.
As it currently stands, there have been reports that the Sacramento Kings would prefer not to part with De'Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in any deal, while the Minnesota Timberwolves want to hang on to D'Angelo Russell.
Those three are fine players, but we're talking about a three-time All-Star and all-world defender in Simmons. You get the sense those trades would have been absolute no-brainers 12 months earlier, further highlighting the fallout from the playoff performance.
Philadelphia would love to engage in a transaction for a star on the level of Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal, who have both been thrown into the rumour mill this offseason, but as it currently stands those deals don't appear to be on the table.
Put simply, the Sixers will be hoping Simmons reports. Not necessarily to recover the relationship, but to hopefully boost some of his lost stock.
Are there recent examples of similar holdouts?
Last season, we saw rumours of James Harden wanting a trade from Houston surface prior to training camp. The former MVP would report to camp late and make several comments in media sessions that indicated the situation was becoming untenable.
Eventually, Harden would make his way to Brooklyn, as a rebuild began in Houston.
In 2018, Jimmy Butler forced his way out of Minnesota. Unable to reach a contract extension with the team in the offseason, Butler requested a trade and things only got messier from there, with several reported arguments and altercations in the weeks that followed. The Wolves didn't wait too much longer, trading Butler in early November after a four-game losing streak put them in an early hole.
For uncontracted players we have seen a few examples of training camp holdouts, with JR Smith and Tristan Thompson ultimately coming to an extension agreement prior to the season starting. Interestingly enough, both Smith and Thompson were also represented by Rich Paul.
Tip-off for the 2021-22 season is under a month way with the stand off between Simmons and the Sixers set to get far more interesting with each passing day.
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