NBA feud escalates as Ben Simmons vows 'never' to play for 76ers

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·Sports Reporter
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Ben Simmons is determined for the Philadelphia 76ers to trade him before the next NBA season.
Ben Simmons has reportedly vowed 'never' to play for the 76ers again after the disastrous end to their 2020/2021 season. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Any hope Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers could have repaired the fractious relationship has been extinguished, with Simmons reportedly vowing 'never' to play for the team again.

It was first reported in August that Simmons had no intention of reporting to the team's training camp later this month, with the 76ers meeting with the Australian star soon afterwards in an attempt to clear the air.

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It's unclear how much headway the 76ers made in that meeting, however Simmons' continued willingness to skip training camp and absorb the ongoing financial penalties related to such a move suggests the two sides were unable to find common ground.

Simmons, a three-time NBA All-Star entering the second year of a lucrative five-year, $177 million maximum contract he signed in July 2019, requested a trade from the team soon after their disastrous collapse in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Though it wasn't the defining moment of Philadelphia's series loss to Atlanta, it has seemed as though Simmons' fate was sealed the moment he passed out of an open dunk to teammate Matisse Thybulle in game seven.

He was criticised by both star teammate Joel Embiid, who directly referenced the moment in an interview after the game, and head coach Doc Rivers, who questioned if Simmons could be a championship level point guard.

Despite the prospect of copping a $200,000 fine for every day he doesn't report to training camp, Simmons remains determined to end his relationship with the 76ers, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

"Simmons will not report for opening of training camp next week and intends to never play another game for the franchise. Simmons hasn’t spoken to team since a late August meeting when he communicated this message to Sixers officials," Wojnarowski reported.

"Simmons is clearly aware of sanctions available to organisation to fine and suspend him, including withholding of salary. 

"But so far, Simmons appears willing to carry out a plan of forcing his way to a new team. Sixers have yet to find a a trade they’re willing to make for him."

Philadelphia 76ers struggling to find Ben Simmons trade

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has scoured the NBA for fair trade value and so far found nothing close. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly unwilling to part with Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards for Simmons. 

The Sacramento Kings have reportedly kept De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton off the table. The Golden State Warriors reportedly will not deal James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga for Simmons. 

Philadelphia reportedly turned down a deal centred around Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon. Collin Sexton would reportedly be the centrepiece of the Cleveland Cavaliers' interest.

Morey understandably wants more. Simmons is a 25-year-old three-time All-Star who has averaged a 16-8-8 for his four-year career and finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season. 

Comments made by Joel Embiid about 76ers teammate. Ben Simmons may have contributed to the Australian star's request for a trade. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Comments made by Joel Embiid about 76ers teammate. Ben Simmons may have contributed to the Australian star's request for a trade. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

The 76ers have won 60% of their games since the 6-foot-11 point guard first saw the floor for the 2017-18 season.

Simmons would reportedly prefer to play for one of "three California teams," Pompey reported. 

The Kings are the fourth California team presumed not to be on his list. Except, the Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers have few assets that would interest Morey, which makes satisfying everyone impossible.

The Sixers are still working to convince Simmons to report for training camp, according to Marc Stein. Tuesday's reaffirmation of his trade request is a clear attempt to force Philadelphia's hand in hastening a deal, only Morey does not have to grant his star player's wishes

The Sixers will still have to answer for his absence, and the team is scheduled to host its annual media day on Monday. There is surely more to come.

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