Ben Simmons warming up; photo by Austin Krell/The Painted Lines

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sixers and Ben Simmons agreed to a settlement on the grievance the star filed to recoup a portion of salaries withheld from him while he sat out last season amid a trade request. Both sides agreed to keep the exact financial settlement confidential.

The Sixers withheld nearly $20 million from the former first overall pick for his failure to play games. The Sixers, Wojnarowski tweeted, “maintained Simmons breached his contract upon failing to show up for the start of training camp and refusing to play in preseason and regular season prior to trade to Nets. Simmons cited his mental health for the reason his participation in team activities was so limited.”

A settlement is probably best for both sides. Simmons has been in Brooklyn since February. The Sixers appear happy with their situation post the Simmons era. Dragging each other through an arbitration process likely would’ve taken over a year to resolve. At this point, going through an arbitration case would’ve been the NBA’s very own urination contest. 

Instead of going through all of that, both Philadelphia and Simmons can wash themselves of each other and just move on.

As for whether or not it’s just that Simmons gets any money back, the bottom line is that multi-millionaire athletes and their billionaire employers do not operate on the same playing field as 99 percent of the population does. Billionaires toss around 7-8-figure numbers like it’s pocket change. Players are built to think they render holier-than-thou entertainment services. Simmons is a star. Stars drive winning. Winning drives revenue. Owners need revenue to drive custom Rolls Royces. 

What it comes down to is that stars can afford the best agents. That means stars can send the most intelligent proxies to battle on their behalf. That’s why stars in the NBA will always find ways to get what they want. 

It doesn’t matter whether anyone finds it just. Business is business, and that’s the nature of the modern NBA.

As for the dollar figure, it makes sense that both sides would agree to confidentiality. The league doesn’t want to set a precedent for what athletes can put in their wallets after holding out for trades. And whoever the perceived losing party is doesn’t want it getting out because losing is innately embarrassing. 

Assuming he isn’t traded before then, the Sixers will visit Simmons and the Brooklyn Nets in a preseason game on October 3. Simmons is progressing in his rehab and workouts. It’s unclear whether Simmons will play in that preseason game. But, there’s optimism he will be ready to play by the start of the season, a league source told The Painted Lines


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