ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that without prior notice, Philadelphia 76ers star point guard Ben Simmons arrived at the arena this morning to take his mandatory pre-game Covid test. The news came less than a day after Woj tweeted that the Philadelphia 76ers had been in touch with Klutch Sports’ Rich Paul; Paul is a close friend of Los Angeles Lakers Forward LeBron James and represents James’ teammate, Anthony Davis and also is the agent for Ben Simmons.
With the 76ers electing not to pay Simmons for his intended absences, the power of balance shifted once again in Philly’s direction. This bold move by the Sixers’ front office essentially called Klutch’s bluff, bringing both sides back to the negotiating temple, when without warning, Ben Simmons shows up at the Sixers’ arena before the game. Does this mean that we should expect to see Simmons out on the court in a Sixers uniform soon? Certainly not.
Sixers All-Star Ben Simmons has arrived in Philadelphia and took a Covid-19 test — as required by NBA protocol, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 12, 2021
While it seems like Simmons’ mind changed, it is crucial not to lose sight of Klutch’s end goal here, to get their client out of Philadelphia. As it stands, the only difference between last week and now is that Ben Simmons no longer feels like he has the high ground in this situation and is willing to come to terms with the potential fallout, a classic case of damage control.
With Philadelphia refusing to pay Simmons due to his unwillingness to report to work, it seems that Ben and his camp are starting to see how ugly this could get for them. Simmons and Klutch are back at the negotiating table playing ball but don’t expect Ben to be suited up playing NBA basketball anytime soon.
Why is that? Well, Rich Paul has made it clear that they would like the Sixers to continue to look for trade scenarios to find Simmons a new NBA team. However, this time around, it’s going to take some effort from Simmons to build his reputation back-up by being available for team functions to entice teams to trade for him. On the flip side, the Sixers will also not want to risk injury to Simmons as it is clear he still wants out of Philadelphia, so playing him for his regular rotation minutes will not happen.
It is a good day for sports fans, as one of the ugliest player-organization sagas seems to have taken a step in the right direction. For Philadelphia fans who love Ben and want to see him in a Sixers uniform, nothing changes, and all this means is that both sides are now making an effort to try and get closer to a trade.
In the grand scheme of things, the fact it seems Simmons was the first one to blink will set a precedent for superstars contemplating holding out to get their way. There’s a hefty price to pay, and you know what they say about gambling. The house always wins.