Ben Simmons officially files grievance to challenge $20 million withheld by the 76ers
Adrian Wojnarowski fired out a few tweets this morning reporting that Ben Simmons has filed a grievance to challenge nearly $20 million of salary withheld to him by the Philadelphia 76ers. The grievance, which will now go to an arbitration process, was then shared with the Philadelphia 76ers, the NBA, and the National Basketball Players Association late this week.
The NBPA is supporting Ben Simmons in his attempts to reclaim his salary.
Im relatively surprised that the NBPA is supporting Ben Simmons in his case to get the $20 million back from the 76ers but I guess it makes sense. The idea that players can sit out, refuse to play basketball, refuse to speak for months and refuse provide any real information to anyone inside the organization that you are contractually obligated to play for, while your agent and talking heads in the media completely slander your teammates, coaches, and fans must be appealing.
Oh and Chris Paul, the head of the NBPA, shares the same agent in Rich Paul, as Ben Simmons. So hey, if you can get away with that AND still get paid then honestly, cheers to you. Luckily, arbitration means that a third party will be looking at the grievance so really, NBPA support is about as meaningful as my support against it.
The 76ers haven’t really changed their tone throughout the entire process, insisting that Simmons was in breach of contract under the NBA/NBPA CBA and had the right to withhold the salary owed to Simmons. The NBA and NBAPA haven’t been able to get on the same page in regards to this issue, so now arbitration will handle it.
The NBA’s CBA does state a grievance must be initiated within 30 days from the date of the occurrence upon which the grievance is based. It has been six weeks since the NBA trade deadline which would put him outside of that window, so honestly that doesn’t make sense on why he can file it now, but apparently Klutch Sports is arguing that the trade did not in fact trigger the grievance.
I’m not going to pretend to be some expert in all of this legal stuff but if you really just stop and look at the entire Simmons saga from a very basic overview, here’s how I would break it down.
- Simmons requests trade, 76ers refuse to trade him.
- Klutch Sports rips coaches, players, fans for not supporting Simmons.
- Ben Simmons refuses to play
- 76ers put Simmons salary in an escrow account and fine him.
- Simmons comes back to the team, says mental health is main issue, will play when ready.
- At the same time, Simmons not communicating or sharing medical information with team.
- Simmons traded to the Nets, now mentally ready to play.
- Simmons not playing due to back injury.
- Simmons files grievance to reclaim $20 million in salary.
Nothing during that quick overview makes me think that Ben Simmons deserves any type of money from the Philadelphia 76ers’ organization. At the very least, the 76ers organization should just pretend they never got the grievance for at least 5-6 months and not even speak to anyone about it.
When asked about it six months from now, they should say they want to pay it, but they aren’t mentally ready to do so. Then they should give Simmons and Klutch Sports generic updates from accounting on when they should expect payment to be sent and drag it out as long as possible, ultimately not paying Ben Simmons a single cent of what he believes he is owed.
In all seriousness, the fact that a young player with significant time and money left on a max contract and simply just refuse to play basketball or communicate properly, while still getting paid seems like a bad precedent to set for the rest of the NBA. I said this on multiple occasions. The Philadelphia 76ers were in the right in not just meeting to Ben Simmons’ trade demands and the spiteful side of me hoped they just held onto him and forced him out of basketball until his contract was up.
Since it will go to third party arbitration, maybe they will realize that all of this sets a bad precedent for the future of the NBA. However, that really depends on what the reasoning for the grievance is. We still really don’t know much about Ben Simmons hold out from the Sixers and what was the driving force behind it, or what the 76ers knew throughout the entire situation. All we heard was report after report, most of the time with contradicting information.
Personally, I hope he doesn’t get paid a cent. How can they prove mental health issues were the reason for Ben Simmons not playing? On top of that, how can you prove that it was a lingering back injury during his time in Philadelphia? Seems like a tough case for Simmons and Klutch Sports to win and I hope the 76ers organization makes it a long, miserable process that takes months, if not years, to resolve.
One thing that is nice about this situation is the fact that throughout the entire process, Klutch Sports has mismanaged Simmons and the Sixers relationship from the start, so I have zero faith in them actually doing anything productive while trying to reclaim the money.
We’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out. The 76ers are back in action at 12:30pm today against the Charlotte Hornets in South Philadelphia.
Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier/Getty Images