The 76ers will start training for the new season without Ben Simmons, with reports suggesting he won’t play again for Philly.

ESPN report that the 25-year-old does not intend to report for preseason, nor will he play for them again. He wants a trade out of Philadelphia but still has four years and $147 million left on his max contract. However, in August, he reportedly told Sixers management of his intentions, and the standoff hasn’t eased as we look towards the new season due at the end of October.

The Sixers are open to letting Simmons leave but were not impressed by the offers and held off as late as possible, which has created the current situation. The Sixers would like to see Simmons back in the team, his partnership on the floor with All-NBA center Joel Embiid has been impressive and a defining factor in any success they have enjoyed in recent seasons. Whilst not outright favorites for the NBA title with BetOnline, they are in the top seven alongside the likes of the Clippers, but that is factoring in Simmons as a key player. Should he get his wish and leave, it will severely impact their chances in the Eastern Conference, which they won last season. Their stance is that Simmons is to report for training, something sources confirm he will not do. “He has said he wants to go,” one team insider revealed. “Ben doesn’t want to be here…but there’s a lot of things we want too.”

If he does press ahead with his threat of a no-show, the Sixers will most likely withhold his salary for failure to appear, and they could suspend him for failing to render services once preseason begins. Their first game of the preseason is against the Raptors on October 5, which is after the October 1 deadline for him to receive 50% of his salary, as laid out in his contract.

Simmons has been with the Sixers since 2016 and is a three-time NBA All-star. He was given Rookie of the Year in 2018, after becoming the first college player in the modern era to be selected with the first overall pick despite never playing in the NCAA Tournament. There were early question marks over Simmons, with former NBA star Tracy McGrady questioning his attitude. Stu Jackson, former head coach of the Knicks, went further. “There’s just something about the way Simmons has handled himself, or been handled by his camp, that gives me a little bit cause for pause,” he said. “His body language at times bothered me. There’s just some personal characteristics with the way he portrayed himself and performed that just gave me a reason to be a little bit hesitant about taking him number one.”

Those comments seem strangely prophetic now as the standoff between the Sixers and Simmons continues. Another element could come into play over the next few weeks; NBA insider Marc Stein suggested that commissioner Adam Silver could get involved. “Would Commissioner Adam Silver go beyond exerting mere backchannel pressure on Simmons to report and step in to sanction him if he doesn’t? Several league insiders think so,” he said.

With no immediate resolution in sight, and several key dates such as media day, first game of preseason and salary payment deadline all looming, this saga looks set to run the distance.