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Ben Simmons Is Holding Out

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JUNE 06: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers directs teammates during the first quarter against the Atlanta Hawks during Game One of the Eastern Conference second round series at Wells Fargo Center on June 06, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Ben Simmons, soon-to-be former Philadelphia 76er last seen agitating for a trade after refusing to put the ball in the hoop then getting trashed by all of his colleagues for being a prickly weirdo, is outta here. Well, he will be soon, as his representatives sounded the alarm via ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Simmons will not report to camp, will never play another game for the Sixers, and is prepared to bear the financial consequences of those first two choices. Such a move has been reasonably public information for about a month, though now that it’s gotten the Woj boost, one reasons that Simmons’s decision is final.

Simmons’s agent, Rich Paul, has been trying to force Sixers GM Daryl Morey’s hand for months now, and all that Morey’s overly developed sense of patience really got him was the evaporation of his leverage. Simmons will have to go, and even if the delta between what the Sixers want for him and his actual market is quite large, he is still a 25-year-old three-time all-star. He is also a nebbish shooter, an apparently uncooperative teammate, and the roundest of pegs. Because he waited, Morey will be trading him for value that more closely approximates that second player. Whether he should have foreseen this or not (I mean, he did try to flip him for James Harden a year ago), I do not see a path for the Sixers to get anything close to the “four picks and two value-add players” package they demanded from the Warriors or even, say, Tyrese Haliburton.

As for Simmons, this planned holdout would be one of the first genuine holdouts in modern NBA history. Jimmy Butler, James Harden, and Kawhi Leonard have all directly forced moves via refusing various pleasantries and duties, though they all showed up to work and avoided being fined real American dollars to get the hell out of their respective situations. Unlike those three, Simmons is not a no-shit superstar who fits in alongside most other elite players, though he is making as much money. He’s a not-quite-point guard, not-quite-big man who is among the best in the NBA at certain things (defense) and among the worst at others (putting the ball in the hoop). Someone will pay up. Probably not one of the “three California teams” (I’m not owned!), and probably some team that can offer win-now players the Sixers can slot alongside Joel Embiid.

Something will break soon, and I personally cannot wait to see how Simmons can become even more surly as the premier player on a 18-win Sacramento Kings team.