The Sixers Cranked Things Up A Notch And Flat Out Refused To Pay Ben Simmons The Money He Was Owed Today

Tim Nwachukwu. Getty Images.

I swear, every day this standoff feels like it's getting crazier and crazier. It's like the ultimate game of chicken where honestly there doesn't look to be any true winner in sight. Simmons demanded a trade, they said no. He threatened he wouldn't show up to camp. The team said fine, we'll just fine you. Klutch responded and said we don't give a shit, fine us all you want. Remember, in their back pocket they always knew they had this 10/1 date for another direct deposit into Simmons' bank account. It made sense why he wouldn't give a shit about the fines.

That obviously changed today. I can't remember a time where a team flat out refused to pay a player their guaranteed money. Even if he's being an asshole, I feel like that stuff is collectively bargained. We're in uncharted waters with this whole thing, and if you put stock into what Klutch is still saying about it, they don't care. Imagine that feeling? Being able to not give a shit about getting $8M is a world I cannot even fathom.

Here's my question though. If Simmons and his team are fully onboard with giving up all this money, what other moves do the Sixers even have? If you add up everything he could be fined in terms of missing games for a full year, that comes out to around $23M. Now there's a way around this of course

but I feel like there's no shot the Sixers play ball with that idea. To be honest I didn't even know you could hold out giving a player their guaranteed money, even if they pulled a stunt like this. It makes sense though, why should a team pay a player who is not fulfilling the duties of his contract? I knew you could get fined, but I didn't know a team could flat out hold off from paying you. Even Harden wasn't bold enough to pull that stunt when he wanted to get out of Houston. He just dogged it on the court instead.


I feel like from the Klutch side, they think that if they remove the leverage of money that the Sixers have, they'll be forced to accommodate a trade. I'm not so sure. I think if Morey was going to make a deal he didn't love, he would have done it already. I think there's really only two scenarios where he ultimately would cave. 

1. Joel Embiid goes into his office and says enough is enough. We sort of got that feeling with his presser the other day, but he holds all the power. If he feels like this is fucking up the team, Morey will listen.

2. The Sixers have a shaky start to the year. Heading into the season, you take the gamble that no Simmons won't be a problem. If they win, then Morey doesn't have to cave. But if they struggle? If this distraction starts to impact their record? I could see him taking a lesser deal than he initially wanted just to prevent further damage. 

I don't see either option happening before the start of the season though. It feels like this standoff isn't going anywhere over the next few weeks. Both sides have played their final cards and now it's a game of chicken. Simmons won't report no matter what and will pay/lose whatever money that comes from it and the Sixers won't pay him unless he reports while fining him along the way.

Looking ahead, if you look at what happened with AD, Harden, and now Simmons, I think it's growing more and more likely that we're going to have a lockout over this shit once the current CBA expires. Owners are going to want protection against this type of stuff and there's no way the players union caves. I'm hoping it doesn't get to that point, but that's where my gut tells me we're headed.