Ben Simmons Rumors: Nets PG Files Grievance Against 76ers After Nearly $20M Withheld

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 2, 2022

Brooklyn Nets' Ben Simmons watches practice before an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Ben Simmons reportedly filed a grievance against the Philadelphia 76ers for the nearly $20 million in salary the team withheld prior to his February trade to the Brooklyn Nets.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski provided full details about the grievance: 

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

The grievance – which will now go to an arbitration process – was shared with the team, NBA and National Basketball Players Association late this week, sources tell ESPN. The NBPA is supporting Simmons in the attempt to reclaim his salary.

Simmons opted against playing for the Sixers this season, citing his desire to focus on mental health after the team failed to find a trade partner last offseason. He was ultimately moved to the Nets as part of a blockbuster deal that sent James Harden to Philly.

In October, ESPN's Tim Bontemps and Brian Windhorst reported the Sixers didn't pay Simmons an initial $8.25 million he was owed prior to the start of the 2021-22 season and instead placed the money into an escrow account, which was then used to deduct fine money.

The plan called for the 25-year-old point guard to receive any money left in the account if he returned to the active roster, but he never rejoined the lineup before getting traded to the Nets.

So every two weeks the team's front office would send him a notice for "failing to render services" to withhold his scheduled $1.4 million paycheck, and the total reached over $19 million by early February, per ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

Simmons was dealt to Brooklyn on Feb. 10 but has yet to appear in a game for his new team while recovering from a back injury.

His relationship with the 76ers deteriorated after the team was eliminated in the second round of last season's playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks. He passed up a wide-open layup late in a 103-96 Game 7 loss to close out that series.

After the postseason exit, Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers was asked whether Simmons could be the point guard on a championship team.

"I don't know the answer to that," Rivers replied.

Things were never the same between Simmons and the team from that point forward, and he appeared ready to remain sidelined for as long as it took for a trade to materialize.

While a deal finally arrived, it sounds like the Simmons-Sixers drama isn't over yet.