Barkley specifically responded to the news that Simmons, via his agent at serial hostage negotiating firm Klutch Sports, wants to not only be traded, but choose the team, as well. The notion that a player can whine enough to demand a trade despite being under contract is a brand new development and unsightly byproduct of the player empowerment era.
“This is total BS, and if I’m the Sixers — we had our annual Sixers dinner the other night, and I said to those guys, ‘I will call Ben Simmons. If you want to be traded, that is fine. We’re not giving you away. We’re not going to trade you to where you want to be traded.
“‘For someone who wants to give up the deal, we’re not taking 25 cents on the dollar. If we don’t get the deal we want, you are going to be playing right here in Philadelphia. You don’t run the 76ers; we gave you $200 million, the only thing we ask you to do is shoot the damn basketball, and now you’re mad because we’re telling you to shoot the basketball.'”
The standoff between Simmons and Philly is unlike anything NBA fans have ever seen. Simmons has developed what many around the league call a mental complex regarding his offensive skillset. In the playoffs last season, the three-time All-Star notoriously passed up open look after open look in what can only be described as a ‘fear of failure.’
To his credit, Simmons is a generationally gifted passer and defensive player, so there is certainly something to build on if the right coach can instill some confidence in his offensive game. But until then, the entire league is standing by, curiously waiting to see if Philadelphia front office management will lower their trade price given the goods may be irrevocably damaged.
It’s a bizarre situation that has the potential to get weirder if a trade suitor isn’t found and Simmons follows through on his promise to simply sit out the season, which is really the only ‘out’ for a professional athlete under contract: to just take your ball and go home. Barkley took the opportunity to point out the ridiculousness of that caveat, as well.
“I blame Ben No. 1 because he’s already got one coach ran out of town because he wouldn’t shoot the ball, but now he’s on the clock.”