Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons reach settlement on grievance over withheld pay

Brooklyn Nets All-Star Guard Ben Simmons and his former team, the Philadelphia 76ers, reached a settlement over the complaint Simmons filed to recover a portion of the nearly $20 million he was awarded for his failure to play games in the year 2021 have been withheld from the -22 season, sources told ESPN on Monday.

Both sides agreed not to disclose the exact financial agreement, it said.

Simmons and the National Basketball Players Association filed the complaint in April after talks between Simmons’ representatives at Klutch Sports and the 76ers failed to reach a settlement, sources said. The sides entered arbitration but reached a settlement agreement prior to judgment.

Philadelphia had repeatedly insisted that Simmons had breached his contract under the NBA-NBPA collective bargaining agreement and had the right to reclaim money paid to him preseason. After Simmons made a trade request, the 76ers claimed that Simmons broke his player contract by not showing up for the start of training camp and refusing to play during the preseason and regular season.

Simmons arrived in Philadelphia towards the end of the preseason but credited his mental health as the reason his participation in team activities was so limited. The 76ers and Simmons disagreed on the access grades the team and its doctors gave Simmons to diagnose and confirm his sanity, sources said.

Simmons received his full salary for his tenure with the Nets following a Feb. 10 trade, though he never played a game for Brooklyn. Simmons underwent surgery in April to repair a disc injury and is expected to be ready to start training camp at the end of September.

Simmons and his agent, Klutch Sports’ Rich Paul, requested a trade at a postseason meeting after the three-time All-Star guard fell out with the team after losing to the Atlanta Hawks in an Eastern Conference Finals loss had performed poorly.

Picked No. 1 in the 2016 NBA draft, Simmons was one of the top defensemen in the league and signed a five-year, $170 million contract in 2019.

Beginning with Simmons’ first paycheck on November 15, Philadelphia began reclaiming the $360,000-per-game salary for every game Simmons missed in the season. Because Simmons received a $16.5 million advance on his $33 million salary during the offseason, there wasn’t enough money in each paycheck to cover the per-game deductions.

The back injury first affected Simmons in the spring of the pandemic-hit 2020 season. He also reported back problems when he reported to Sixers training camp in October. The injury was evaluated and treated by Philadelphia’s team doctors, and he was cleared to resume basketball activities shortly thereafter.

That time was the only time Philadelphia Simmons wasn’t in breach of his contract last season, sources said.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks and Ramona Shelburne contributed to this report.

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/34405414/sources-philadelphia-76ers-ben-simmons-reach-settlement-grievance-withheld-pay Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons reach settlement on grievance over withheld pay

Emma Bowman

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