The strangest story in the NBA right now is the Ben Simmons holdout in Philadelphia. Simmons has four years left on a max contract extension that he agreed to in the summer of 2019, but now has decided that he no longer wants to play for the 76ers due to comments made by Joel Embiid and old friend Doc Rivers, as well as what Simmons perceives as an organization preference towards Embiid.
It’s not unheard of for a player to demand a trade. All-Stars do this on a regular basis — some publicly, like James Harden with Houston last year, and some much more discreetly, like Jrue Holiday with New Orleans around the same time. Just this offseason, Patrick Beverley asked for the opportunity to choose his next destination after he and the front office couldn’t agree on an extension, which is akin to asking for a trade. What makes this situation different is that Simmons refuses to report to the Sixers, who in turn have withheld the All-Star’s paycheck.
Is Simmons in the wrong for sitting out, even though he is accepting the consequences of not being paid? Is Philadelphia in the wrong for building a team around Simmons and Embiid when both are paint-bound players on offense? Or does the fault lie with both parties?
According to the latest Reacts survey, the majority of fans believe that Simmons is wrong. 71 percent of fans side with the Sixers over their point guard. Simmons can exercise his player autonomy as much as he wants, but he isn’t earning any new admirers in the process.
It poses an interesting question of what players owe to teams during their contract. Teams can choose to trade players whenever they want and also sit players for a variety of reasons; should that prerogative also extend to players?
Let us know what you think! To vote in the Reacts surveys and have your voice heard each week, sign up here.