Ben Simmons has reportedly filed an a grievance to challenge the nearly $ 20 million salary withheld from him by the 76ers this season, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Bobby Marks and Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Saturday morning.
The grievance, which was filed with the team, NBA and National Basketball Players Association late this week will now go to an arbitration process, per the report.
In an attempt to resolve the situation without arbitration, Simmons’s representatives reportedly had multiple conversations with the Sixers since the 25-year-old point guard was traded to the Nets in a deal involving All-Star guard James Harden on Feb. 10, for ESPN. However, the two sides were unable to reach a resolution in those independent talks.
The result of those failed negotiations led to Simmons’s decision to file the grievance after a contentious standoff unfolded between him and the Sixers, dating back to last summer. The conflict lasted well into the current regular season and eventually prompted Philadelphia to trade the former No. 1 pick, who has not played this year, to Brooklyn.
After requesting a trade following last year playoffs, Simmons did not report for the start of training camp and refused to play during the preseason and regular season. He cited his mental health as the reason for his limited participation in team-related activities.
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Although the 76ers have not publicly questioned Simmons’ claims about his mental health, the organization has maintained that the 25-year-old point guard was in breach of contract under the league’s collective bargaining agreement. The team did not pay Simmons for the games that he missed during the regular season and fined him $ 360,000 for each game in which he was away from the team.
Simmons hopes to earn that money, which has added up to more than $ 19 million, back through the grievance. He hasn’t earned a paycheck since Oct. 1, when he received an $ 8.25 million advance of his salary.
Simmons has yet to play a game for the Nets after a previous back injury flared up as he began to ramp up his conditioning before making a season debut, per ESPN. He received an epidural injection last month and it remains unclear when he will take the court for the first time in Brooklyn. On Friday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Simmons has resumed “light on-court workouts” in hope to be ready for the Nets’ playoff push.
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