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NBA guard Ben Simmons and his former team, the Philadelphia 76ers, have been at odds over the tumultuous 2021 season where Simmons sat out the entire year. On Monday, both sides came to a settlement regarding missed salary pay for the former All-Star.
Simmons’ reason for sitting out the season fluctuated between a nagging back injury and bouts with mental health issues, which the player once attributed to the 76ers’ insistence on speeding up Simmons’ return timeline from his back injury — and eventual surgery.
Details on the settlement between Simmons and the 76ers have yet to be released.
Philadelphia signed Simmons to a five-year, $170 million max extension in 2019. Last year, Simmons accrued $19 million in fines from the Sixers as he remained sidelined, missing out on roughly $30 million in salary pay. Initial reports around Simmons’ bid to recoup his 2021 salary indicated that he wanted to win back $20 million from the Sixers, per Bleacher Report. Philadelphia insists that Simmons decided to stay sidelined for the year and violated the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.
The National Basketball Players Association sought to reach a settlement for Simmons after his representation failed to successfully negotiate with the Sixers.
Not having played a game since 2020, the 76ers cut their losses with trying to bring back Simmons and traded him to the Brooklyn Nets — receiving James Harden in the exchange — on Feb. 10.
Simmons’ agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, commented on Simmons’ mental health issues when critics began to call out the former No. 1 overall pick for seemingly delaying his return.
“This is no longer about a trade. This is about finding a place where we can help Ben get back to his mental strength and get back on the floor,” Paul said.
“I want him on the floor playing the game that he loves,” the agent added. “I want Ben on the floor whether that’s in a 76ers uniform or any other uniform, that’s not up to me, but I want him in a state where he can resume play. We want to cooperate and want to work him back on the floor.”
Brooklyn did not see Simmons on the court after making the trade but hope he can become a major asset for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to consider as both players mull an exit from the Nets.