Ben Simmons Willing To Pay For Camp No-Show
Rumour has it there's a cunning puppet master holding the Philadelphia 76ers hostage. And that he's none other than Melbourne-born Ben Simmons.
Reports this week confirmed Simmons is more than willing to fork out the promised $1.3 million fine for buying himself out of training camp. So disgruntled is the 25-year-old with team president Daryl Morey and head coach Doc Rivers, that he's willing to foot the bill for the discomfort.
He Wants An Apology
The row reached boiling point when coach Doc Rivers failed to hide his true feelings about Simmons following Game 7 in last season's playoffs. When asked whether Simmons could be relied upon as starting point guard of a winning team, the Philadelphia coach responded by saying he didn't actually know the answer to the question at that particular point in time.
While Morey has chronically insisted on Simmons being a cornerstone player and crucial part of the team, he has at the same time failed to reprimand his head coach for the lack of confidence expressed in public. And since neither reprimand nor apology have been forthcoming, say camp Simmons, the one hand won't be washing the other this time around.
Did Someone Say Cleveland?
Making matters worse is that Philadelphia are trying their best to find a buyer willing to pay top dollar for Simmons – meaning they're as eager to move him on as he is to leave their ranks.
While the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings have all expressed an interest in acquiring Simmons, the Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly have their sights set on a trade also. According to NBA reporter Marc Stein, Cleveland's recent acquisition of Lauri Markkanen could be the key to unlocking the Simmons trade locket also. The only issue is the NBA's rulebook, which now limits Cleveland's chances of moving Markkanen in time for making a fair trade with Philadelphia.
Simmons, meanwhile, hasn't been answering Philadelphia's calls for what's reported to be weeks. His relationship with the team is clearly in tatters – despite the four years and staggering $147 million remaining on his deal.
The main problem with the star guard is clearly his shooting – or rather, lack thereof. So bad did his shooting become that last year he made his way into the NBA's record books for players with the worst records of shot making.
Perhaps that's deserving of an apology too.