Brooklyn Nets All-Star Goalkeeper Ben Simmons And his former team, Philadelphia 76ers, have reached a settlement agreement over Simmons’ grievance to recover a portion of about $20 million withheld from him as a result of his failure to play games in the 2021-2022 season, sources told ESPN on Monday.
The sources said that the two sides agreed on confidentiality regarding the exact financial settlement that was reached.
Sources said Simmons and the National Basketball Players Association filed the grievance in April after discussions between Simmons’ representatives at Clutch Sports and the 76ers did not result in a settlement. The parties entered into an arbitration process but reached a settlement agreement before the judgment was rendered.
Philadelphia repeatedly insisted that Simmons had breached his contract under the NBA and NBPA collective bargaining agreement and was entitled to a refund of pre-season money. After Simmons applied for a trade, the 76ers insisted Simmons breached his player’s contract when he failed to show up for the start of training camp and refused to play during pre-season and the regular season.
Simmons arrived in Philadelphia towards the end of pre-season, but cited his mental health as the reason his involvement in team activities was so limited. Sources said the 76ers and Simmons disagreed about the access scores assigned to the team and its doctors for Simmons to diagnose and confirm his mental health.
Simmons earned his full salary for his time with the Brooklyn Nets after a deal on February 10, although he never played a game with Brooklyn. Simmons underwent surgery to repair a disc injury in April and is expected to be ready to start training camp in late September.
Simmons and his agent, Rich Bull of Clutch Sports, requested a trade in the post-season meeting after the three-time All-Star guard lost to the team over a poor performance in the Eastern Conference Finals loss to Atlanta.
Simmons, the 2016 NBA draft pick, was one of the top defenders in the league and signed a five-year contract worth a maximum of $170 million in 2019.
Beginning with Simmons’ first paycheck on November 15, Philadelphia began refunding the $360,000 per game paycheck for every game Simmons missed in the season. Since Simmons earned $16.5 million up front from his $33 million salary in the off-season, there wasn’t enough money in each paycheck to cover the deductions for each game.
The back injury hit Simmons first during the spring of the 2020 season, which halted the pandemic. He also reported discomfort in his back when informing Sixers training camp in October. The injury was evaluated and treated by Philadelphia’s team doctors, and he was cleared of resuming basketball activities shortly thereafter.
That period was the only time Philadelphia did not find Simmons breaching his contract last season, sources said.
Bobby Marks and Ramona Shelburne contributed to this report.
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