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  • Mamadou Tall

Ben Simmons is Baiting

Drama and Ben Simmons have been synonymous since the Philadelphia 76ers lost to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. In most cases, drama is often fueled by the media, but this right here is all Ben's fault.

Simmons has been on some type of strike against the 76ers organization. All of us know that you can't stop showing up to work and not expect consequences. Ben Simmons is an employee of the Philadelphia 76ers, so imagine how they feel when one of their highest-paid employees decides not to show up. The logical consequence is to not pay the guy, and the 76ers did just that.

$8.25 million was supposed to be paid to Ben Simmons yesterday (Friday, October 1st). You can guess what happened next; Simmons didn't get paid. Instead, the 76ers decided to not pay him the $8.25 million and throw the money in an escrow account. This marks the first move on the 76ers end. The refusal to pay Simmons the money serves as the start of a war between the camps.

For weeks Simmons has been making it clear that he does not intend to play for the 76ers ever again. He hasn't shown up to training camp, and with the NBA season two weeks away, the 76ers top brass is starting to feel the pressure. Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid have been on a media tour trying to repair the organization's relationship with Simmons.

Despite all the efforts and words, Simmons has made it clear that his time in Philly has come to an end. Better yet, Simmons said that playing alongside Embiid isn't conducive to his play style. "Isn't conducive," he said.

Here is some food for thought; in the Eastern Conference semis, Embiid was averaging 30 points, 12.7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. Simmons on the other hand poured in 10 points, 6 rebounds, 8.6 assists, and 1.3 steals. Even better, let's compare the free-throw shooting numbers between the two. Embiid shot 81% from the line. Simmons shot 33% from the line. The worst free-throw percentage in NBA playoff history. "Isn't conducive."

After Simmons' comments, it was no surprise that Embiid took offense to the sentiments and responded. Embiid told The Athletic, "I feel like our teams have always been built around his needs. So it was kind of surprising to see. I mean the reason why we signed Al (Horford) is (Simmons). We got rid of Jimmy (because) he needed the ball in his hands." He went onto to add, "The situation is weird, disappointing, borderline kinda disrespectful to all the guys that are out here fighting for their lives. Some guys rely on the team to be successful to stay in the league and make money somehow."

In his statement, Embiid used words like surprising, weird, disappointing, and disrespectful. All words that he has every right to use when describing this whole situation. Surprising because after Simmons' performance in the playoffs last season you would think he would be looking at himself as the one who isn't conducive to Embiid's play style. Weird because of the entitlement that Simmons is showing with this holdout. Disappointing, because of the way Simmons is going about all this when it's pretty much his fault. The most important word in Embiid's statement is the word "disrespectful." Ben Simmons is scheduled to make about $145 million in these next four years. $145 million to a player who can't shoot free throws and refuses to attempt a jump shot in a real game. His refusal to shoot the ball hurts his teammates, his coaches, the franchise, and the fans, yet he's holding out and throwing blame at those same people. Make it make sense.

Simmons is losing money and burning bridges. He can afford to lose the $33 million that he was supposed to make this season to prove his point. All of that is cool, but how do you think his peers are looking at him. Wherever he ends getting traded he's going to have to perform or else all of this is for nothing. All the pressure is on Ben Simmons right now if you ask me. All these workout videos of him shooting the ball are getting old, and whichever team trades for him will be expecting to see all of that. If you ask me Ben Simmons' method will work but it will surely backfire. Money will be lost and so will respect.

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