By Peter Gleason

The Sixers hold media day today before tomorrow’s start of training camp over in Camden.

And the Ben Simmons problem persists:

It’s the same as it was after his June 20 meltdown in game 7 of the Eastern semis against the Hawks when he wouldn’t even take an open dunk and the Sixers were bounced 103-96.

To quote “As Time Goes By”:

“It’s still the same old story, a fight for love and glory.”

Simmons says he won’t report for camp, while the 76ers retain the option of withholding his first salary payment for 2021–22 due on Oct. 1.

Simmons is entering the second year of a five-year, $177.2 million extension he signed in July 2019. The contract doesn’t include an option year, so the Sixers have him locked down for the next four years unless they trade him.

The Sixers have the leverage.

Simmons is due 25% of his salary, roughly $8.25 million, on Oct. 1. Should Simmons not report, the Sixers could theoretically withhold the check until he does.

The player hasn’t helped his position. The 76ers haven’t liked any trade offers thus far and are hopeful Simmons getting back on the court could help his value. He reportedly told the club it wasn’t his job to increase his trade value.

Amico tweeted that the Denver Nuggets are a sleeper team in the Simmons sweepstakes. With roughly $1.4 million left before hitting the luxury tax line, the Nuggets would seem to be an unlikely suitor for a max contract player such as Simmons.

But with MVP Nikola Jokić in line for a $241 million supermax extension next summer and promising young star Michael Porter Jr. on the clock for a rookie extension, the traditionally thrifty management team in Denver may roll the dice on making a title push this season.

As for a simple trade, the odds of that are slim, per an Amico tweet.

“Don’t think in terms of straight-up trades,” Amico cited one general manager as saying. Multiple teams almost certainly must be involved to accommodate the salaries involved.

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