Could Ben Simmons suit up for the Sixers if he’s not traded by the February 10 deadline?
A source with knowledge of Simmons’ thinking told The Painted Lines that, while things could change later in the season, he is unlikely to consider suiting up for the team even if he’s not moved by the deadline.
This comes after ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne indicated that Simmons still cares about his team in a report earlier on Tuesday:
Even so, for however much he says he doesn’t want to be in Philadelphia, for all the slights — real and perceived — he holds against the franchise, Simmons watches every game, sources close to him say.
At the end of the day, it’s still his team, a source says. And he still wants to play. [ESPN]
Some might reason that it makes no sense for Simmons to continue to lose money by resisting after the deadline. They conclude that the only logical move is to give in and play. All along, sources close to Simmons have been optimistic that he’ll recover a significant portion of the money currently funneling to an escrow account when the situation goes to arbitration down the road. They point to the fact that Simmons is willing to forfeit payments for the sake of his cause as an indicator that his motives go beyond money.
Shelburne also reported that Simmons has lost over $19 million in fines since the season opened. She added that he hasn’t cashed a payment since October 1. On that date, he received $8.25 million.
The Sixers still have 10 days to trade Simmons before they’ll be forced to wait until their offseason begins. But, Daryl Morey threw cold water on any fire indicating that a trade was likely to happen by the trade deadline in a recent interview with 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli.
There’s no doubt that the Sixers could use production in the empty rotation spot previously occupied by Simmons. But, to say they miss him may not necessarily be accurate. Philadelphia, in both Simmons’ absence and Tobias Harris’ rollercoaster of a season, is 31-19. They’ve had winning streaks of 6 games, 7 games, and now 5 games this season. The Sixers sit just a half game out of the 1-seed in the Eastern Conference with 32 games to play.
The Painted Lines reached out to the Sixers for comment on this report. The team declined.