The NBA trade deadline is this Thursday, and this time of year always brings plenty of intriguing storylines. Will a contending team try to get the final piece of the championship puzzle? Will a mediocre squad like the Portland Trail Blazers or Washington Wizards trade their respective star players, Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal?
But perhaps the biggest drama comes courtesy of Philadelphia. That’s where Ben Simmons, physically healthy for most of the year, has been sitting out all season for the 76ers. He’s told the team he’s not mentally ready to get back on the court again.
So, for the past seven months, Simmons has waited. He requested a trade, and though the Sixers have entertained offers, they haven’t made a move.
As a result, Simmons has sat out every game this season. That decision doesn’t come without a cost—each missed game check costs Simmons $360,000. As Ramona Shelburne reported, Simmons hasn’t cleared a paycheck since the $8.25 million that was due to him on October 1. That amount equals a quarter of his 2021-22 salary.
Simmons has already lost close to $20 million. If the Sixers ultimately don’t trade him and he remains on the team, not playing a single minute, he’ll forfeit the remainder of his salary for the year: $24.75 million.
Though not guaranteed, Simmons would most likely suit up and play for any team he’s traded to. That would help him recoup the final few million of his salary.
Simmons signed a five-year, $169.65 million extension in July 2019. Things quickly soured, particularly during the 2021 playoffs. Simmons passed up what appeared to be an open dunk in the closing minutes of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Sixers lost; both his teammate Joel Embiid and his coach Doc Rivers had less than flattering votes of confidence for Simmons.
Beyond this season, Simmons still has three years and a little less than $113.7 million remaining on his contract. Whichever team acquires him will have to take that money on.
It’s been fascinating to watch this all play out. In a few days, we just may see Simmons in a new uniform—and finally back out on an NBA court.