Simmons saga escalates as 76ers withhold $11m in bitter battle

The Philadelphia 76ers put 25 per cent of money owed to Australian guard Ben Simmons per his contract – $US8.25 million ($11.4 million) – into an escrow account in response to his holdout, multiple media outlets reported Friday (US time).

The Sixers say they will deduct any fines Simmons racks up from the account. Simmons has not reported the team for training camp and has requested a trade.

Simmons’ contract calls for him receiving two payments of $8.25 million before the season gets underway. He received the first payment August 2.

The Sixers open their pre-season schedule Monday against the Raptors in Toronto. Should Simmons miss that game, he reportedly would be fined about $US227,000 ($313,000). That amount would be deducted for each game he misses.

“We’re in it for the long haul,” a source close to Simmons told ESPN.

A three-time All-Star, Simmons has averages of 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game over his four NBA seasons. The 25-year-old Australian is under contract for four more years after signing a five-year deal worth more than $US177 million in 2020.

In last season’s eastern conference semi-finals against the Hawks, Simmons passed on a wide-open dunk late in game seven. The 76ers ended up losing to close their season and the fallout was bitter.

Sixers centre Joel Embiid said this week that the entire situation involving Simmons heading into the new season was “borderline disrespectful”.

“Some guys rely on the team to be successful to stay in the league and make money somehow,” Embiid said after practice Thursday.


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