Ben Simmons' holdout from the Philadelphia 76ers has escalated. On Monday, the three-time All-Star was fined roughly $360,000 for skipping the team's preseason game against the Toronto Raptors, further proof of his discontent with the franchise and desire to be traded.
But Simmons' market value is at an all-time low -- the same can be said of his reputation across the league. And Sports Illustrated senior writer Chris Mannix believes that the 76ers aren't motivated to lower their asking price in potential trade conversations. They're prepared for the feud with Simmons to continue.
"There's just too many reasons for [76ers executive] Daryl Morey to hold onto his cards here," Mannix told The DA Show on Wednesday. "The Sixers know if they get off to a 4-10 start, the pressure is going to be ratcheted up on them to another level. But right now, I think they're going to roll the dice and hope Maxey takes another step in year two and can be the starting point guard. That Embiid and Harris stay healthy, emerge as a dominant one-two punch...
"If they start out winning 60 to 65-percent of their games, they're not going to do a deal for Simmons anytime soon. That really is going to ratchet up the pressure on Simmons to report or something. Because they're going to keep docking him $360,000-plus every single game he misses. And I think a lot of people in the league are wondering just what kind of appetite Simmons has for those types of fines."
Simmons, who didn't report to training camp last week, scored a measly seven points on just four shot attempts in the 76ers' Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the East semifinals back in June. The 25-year-old also finished the playoffs a ghastly 25-for-73 (34.2-percent) from the free throw line, the worst rate in NBA playoff history, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
If those numbers aren't ugly enough, Simmons only took three total shots in 56 fourth-quarter minutes across seven games against Atlanta, and averaged a scant 9.8 points per game. Simmons has four years and roughly $147 million remaining on his contract with the 76ers, and last Friday, the team withheld an $8.25 million payment -- 25-percent of his season salary.
Philadelphia will open the 2021-22 regular season on the road against the New Orleans Pelicans on Oct. 20. According to the William Hill Sportsbook, the 76ers currently have the third-best odds (+700) to win the East and the seventh-best odds (+1700) to win next summer's NBA Finals.
The entire NBA conversation between Mannix and DA can be accessed in the audio player above.