It appears Ben Simmons is rejoining the Sixers. He has arrived in Philadelphia and took a COVID-19 test, as required by NBA protocols, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. The organization wants Simmons back on the court once he clears protocols, but that remains to be seen, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet.
Simmons’ return seemed imminent when Wojnarowski reported earlier Monday that 76ers team officials and Simmons’ agent Rich Paul had made progress in discussions about ending Simmons’ holdout. What’s not clear yet is whether Simmons intends to suit up or just sit out games until the team works out a trade. Wojnarowski’s earlier report indicated the front office would continue exploring the market for a potential Simmons trade.
Coach Doc Rivers said on Monday the team would “love to get him back.” Rivers also said his teammates would not hold his earlier stance of refusing to report to camp against him, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.
“Other than those first 10 minutes of welcoming back and taking the (razzing) from your teammates about missing camp and stuff, guys want to win. They do,” Rivers said. “I’m telling you, especially if you’re on that type of team where you have a chance to win. They want to win, and they look at Ben as a guy that can help them do that.”
Simmons had a strong monetary incentive to at least show up. The three-time All-Star was losing approximately $360K for each game he missed.
He wasn’t expected to be able to recoup that money down the road and a report last week indicated that those financial ramifications were starting to hit home for Simmons and his camp. It’s unknown whether the negotiations between Paul and the club would allow Simmons to get back some of that money.
Simmons has four years left on his max contract. Things went sour during last season’s playoffs when he was reluctant to shoot and performed disastrously at the free throw line.