Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons Reach Settlement Over Payroll Complaint

Brooklyn Nets All-Star guard Ben Simmons and his former team, the Philadelphia 76ers, reached a settlement agreement over the complaint Simmons filed to recover some of the nearly $20 million withheld from him as a result of his default. to play games in the 2021-2022 season, sources told ESPN on Monday.

Both sides agreed to confidentiality about the exact financial settlement reached, sources 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 parties entered arbitration proceedings but reached a settlement agreement prior to a ruling.

Philadelphia had repeatedly insisted that Simmons violated his contract under the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the NBPA and had the right to recover the money advanced before the season. After Simmons made a trade request, the 76ers insisted that Simmons violated his player contract when he failed to show up for the start of training camp and refused to play during the preseason and regular season.

Simmons arrived in Philadelphia toward the end of the preseason, but cited his mental health as his participation in team activities was so limited. The 76ers and Simmons disagreed over the level of access the team and his doctors were given to Simmons to diagnose and confirm his mental health, sources said.

Simmons received his full salary for his time with the Brooklyn Nets after a deal on February 10, although he never played a game for Brooklyn. Simmons had surgery in April to repair a disc injury and is expected to be ready to start training camp in late September.

Simmons and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, requested a trade in a postseason meeting after the three-time All-Star guard argued with the team after a poor performance in a loss in the Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta.

Simmons, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA draft, was one of the league’s top defenders, signing a five-year deal worth up to $170 million in 2019.

From Simmons’ first paycheck on Nov. 15, Philadelphia began taking back the $360,000 per game paycheck for every game Simmons missed this season. Because Simmons received a $16.5 million advance of his $33 million salary off-season, there was not enough money in each paycheck to cover the deductions per game.

The back injury first hit Simmons during the spring of the pandemic-suspended 2020 season. He also reported discomfort in his back when reporting to Sixers training camp in October. The injury was assessed and treated by Philadelphia’s team doctors, and he was cleared to resume basketball activities shortly after.

That period was the only time last season Philadelphia found Simmons not in breach of his contract, sources said.

Bobby Marks and Ramona Shelburne contributed to this report.

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