Brooklyn Nets All-Star guard Ben Simmons and his former team, the Philadelphia 76ers, reached an agreement on the complaint Simmons filed to recover part of the nearly $20 million withheld from him as a result of his failure to play games in the 2021-2022 season, sources told ESPN on Monday.
Both sides have agreed to confidentiality about the exact financial deal reached, sources said.
Simmons and the National Basketball Players Association filed the complaint in April after discussions between Simmons’ representatives at Klutch Sports and the 76ers failed to result in a settlement, sources said. The sides entered into an arbitration process but reached a settlement before trial.
Philadelphia repeatedly insisted that Simmons violated his contract under the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and NBPA and had the right to recover the money advanced to him before the season. After Simmons made a trade request, the 76ers claimed that Simmons violated his player contract by failing to show up for the start of training camp and refusing to play during the preseason and regular season.
Simmons arrived in Philadelphia near the end of preseason but cited his mental health as the reason his participation in team activities was so limited. The 76ers and Simmons disagreed over the degrees of access the team and its doctors were assigned to Simmons to diagnose and affirm his mental health, sources said.
Simmons received his full salary for his time spent with the Brooklyn Nets after a trade on February 10, although he never played a game for Brooklyn. Simmons had surgery to repair a disc injury in April and is expected to be ready for the start of training camp in late September.
Simmons and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, requested a trade in a postseason meeting after the three-time All-Star guard had a falling out with the team over a poor performance in an Eastern Conference playoff loss to Atlanta.
Simmons, the first pick in the 2016 NBA draft, has been one of the league’s top defenders and signed a five-year, $170 million max contract in 2019.
Beginning with Simmons’ first salary on Nov. 15, Philadelphia began taking back the $360,000 per-game salary for each game Simmons missed this season. Because Simmons received a $16.5 million advance on his $33 million salary in the offseason, there was not enough money in each salary to cover the per-game deductions.
The back injury first affected Simmons during the spring of the pandemic-interrupted 2020 season. He also reported discomfort in his back upon reporting to Sixers training camp in October. The injury was evaluated and treated by Philadelphia’s team doctors, and he was cleared to resume basketball activities shortly thereafter.
That period was the only time Philadelphia did not find Simmons in violation of his contract last season, sources said.
Bobby Marks and Ramona Shelburne contributed to this report.