The $8.25 million Ben Simmons was supposed to receive on October 1 was put in escrow, and the 76ers will deduce roughly $360.000 for every game the young socialite misses. The first deduction happened when Simmons was a no-show for their preseason game with the Raptors, and with three more preseason games until the 16th, Simmons could lose $1.44 million if he doesn’t show up.
In our recent analysis, we pointed out Rich Paul and Klutch learned from Mark Termini, the NBA’s holdout king. Termini was representing Jim Jackson in 1992 when the NBA’s longest holdout happened. Jackson missed 54 games, and the most important lesson from that story is that in the end, he got all his money – including the salary for missed games.
A crucial thing happened last Wednesday, but there was not a lot of reporting about it. The NBA Board of Governors had their annual meeting, and Ben Simmons was at the top of the agenda. Owners are aware we live in the player empowerment era, but a guy signing a max extension and forcing a trade with four years left on his deal by holding out is unacceptable. A message has to be sent to all players thinking about doing this – you will lose a lot of money if you hold out.
“After being fined for missing Philadelphia’s preseason loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday night — a penalty of roughly $360,000 — Simmons’ representation had another discussion with the players association in which it was reiterated they would be unable to recoup the money being deducted from the $8.25 million sitting in escrow, sources say.”Kyle Neubeck, Philly Voice
So the speculation that the team that eventually trades for Simmons could say, “Yeah, will pay you your full salary,” just to appease their new star is off the table. The only team that could agree to give some or all of the fine money back are the 76ers, and there’s no way they are doing that. The league adjusted the CBA in many ways to help teams, particularly small market teams, keep the player they drafted. The way they did it was by making sure those teams could offer significantly more money than the competition.
“As has been the case throughout the process, there is significant interest in this situation throughout the league all the way up to the league office, where sources have remarked on the unprecedented nature of Simmons’ public attempt to get out of his rookie extension before the second year had started. The league is wary of players trying to force their way out after signing deals that are explicitly designed to allow teams to hold onto stars they’ve drafted, especially so as signs of discontent emerge in other situations (e.g. Zion Williamson in New Orelans).”Kyle Neubeck, Philly Voice
Player empowerment got to a point where players felt they could get away with both. Sign the largest possible contract, and then force a trade. That way, you get the home team money and move to a more desirable market. With Simmons escalating the situation, it’s obvious the owners are drawing a line in the sand. We can expect this to be an essential topic in the upcoming CBA negotiations.
One possible fix that will be discussed is to make sure only the team that drafted you can give you the extra money. Let’s say the team that drafted you can offer 150 while other teams can only go up to 120. Six months into your new 150 max contract, you decide it’s time for a change and ask for a trade. Well, if you get traded, you’re not still on the 150 contract but are reduced to the 120 that the team could offer in the first place.
The NBPA (players union) will surely fight this idea, but it’s obvious the owners will insist on some form of insurance. It seems like, for the first time in a long time, an NBA star will hear “NO.” Regardless of how this specific situation plays out, the pendulum will start to swing back. Let’s see how far it goes.