Jay Williams: Rich Paul Told Me He and Ben Simmons 'Want Out' from 76ers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 21, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons warms up before Game 7 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Ben Simmons is still a member of the Philadelphia 76ers for now, but he and his agent apparently don't want that to remain the case.

"This has been an ongoing issue within Philly," ESPN's Jay Williams said on Bart & Hahn. "I talked to Rich Paul, and Rich Paul was the one who told me, 'We want out. We want out. And we'll go to whatever degree we have to go to in order to get out. We want to be anywhere but in Philadelphia.'"

Williams went on to suggest Simmons hasn't been correctly utilized in Philadelphia and was then blamed as a scapegoat after the team's playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

This comes after ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Simmons has no plans on reporting for the start of training camp and "intends to never play another game for the franchise." The point guard has also cut off communication with the team since August.

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Simmons previously used a meeting to tell team co-managing partner Josh Harris, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, general manager Elton Brand and head coach Doc Rivers he wanted out of Philadelphia.

The situation figures to be a primary NBA storyline until he is moved or does take the floor for the team considering there are still four years remaining on his contract that is set to pay him more than $33 million in base salary in 2021-22 alone.

The relationship between player and organization clearly isn't in an ideal place.

Joel Embiid told reporters Simmons' decision to pass up a potential dunk was the "turning point" in the loss to the Hawks, while Rivers told reporters "I don't know the answer to that question right now" when asked if Simmons can lead a team to a title as a point guard.

There is also the question of leverage, as teams are not as inclined to bail the 76ers out of the situation with a favorable offer if they know Simmons has no intention of playing in Philadelphia. That means they can offer less than a three-time All-Star who is a triple-double threat every time he steps on the floor would typically be worth.

A team source also suggested to Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice the fact the 76ers are in a win-now situation adds another layer to trade discussions: 

"There are a few deals you could say, we do this, and we'll gamble that sometime later, we'll take draft picks and turn it back into having [a title] chance. But why do that?...There's no reason to go get draft picks right now because you could just do it all at once. Why take the risk that you do that and you can't flip back out of it? It makes no sense with Joel in his prime."

A trade could shake up the Eastern Conference playoff race, but the situation remains far from solved with the season approaching.


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