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Ben Simmons files grievance against Philadelphia 76ers to recoup $20 million in withheld salary

Matt Johnson
Ben Simmons
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly two months after the Philadelphia 76ers traded disgruntled guard Ben Simmons, the Brooklyn Nets star is reportedly set to cause new headaches for the 76ers’ organization through a grievance over forfeited salary.

Simmons refused to play for the 76ers at the start of the 2021-’22 NBA season, upset over his treatment from Philadelphia’s organization and fan base. After he refused to take the court, citing a need to work on his mental health, the 76ers began withholding his pay for each game missed.

The 26-year-old guard met with mental health professional approved by the NBA Players Association. However, he didn’t provide any clarity to the 76ers’ organization and ESPN reported in November 2021 that he initially wouldn’t meet with the team’s doctors.

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By the time the NBA trade deadline arrived, Simmons lost more than $19 million in fines. Months after his arrival in Brooklyn, the All-Star is now taking action against Philadelphia.

According to ESPN, Simmons has filed a grievance against the 76ers to challenge the fines he received in an effort to recoup the lost salary.

Simmons is receiving support from the players’ union, per ESPN, and his case will go through arbitration. The 76ers are expected to fight the grievance filed by their former star.

Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice wrote in March that some around the NBA believed Simmons attended the Nets’ game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia to strengthen his case. The two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection wanted to use the treatment he received from fans as evidence to support his case against the 76ers.

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Simmons received the hostile reception he expected, but it’s unknown if it will have any impact on the arbitration ruling. Given the NBA is taking greater issue with players sitting out to force a trade after signing a contract, team owners will be watching this matter closely.

When will Ben Simmons play?

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Simmons still hasn’t played for the Nets since the James Harden trade. He initially experienced an issue with his back during the ramp-up period to prepare for his return to the court. While the team hoped it was a minor issue at the time, it’s now been diagnosed as a herniated disc.

  • Ben Simmons stats (2020-’21): 14.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 6.9 apg, 1.6 spg, 106 Defensive Rating

He received an epidural in late March to address the pain, which included issues in his leg. With that no longer an issue, fans hoped he would be closer to a return.

However, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Simmons “is not close to playing for the Nets” and the early expectation is he won’t be ready for the first round of the NBA playoffs.