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Ben Simmons Drama & The NBA CBA

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

Sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, “Ben Simmons had been thrown out of practice by Rivers after he declined several times to sub in for a drill. The 76ers have fined Simmons $1.4 million for his absence from four preseason games and levied numerous team fines for missed practices, on-court workouts, and meetings.” Due to the situation at practice, Simmons is suspended for the season opener which means he will lose an additional $227,000. Based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), will this treatment be a new trend for star players demanding to be traded?

There are not many situations in the sports world where the star player does not get what they want when demanding a trade. Based on his history Simmons’ is not used to not getting his way which has caused a lot of drama the past couple of months. In this situation the Sixers have the right to not trade him and could fine him accordingly for player misconduct. According to Article VI of the CBA, “when a player fails or refuses, without proper and reasonable cause or excuse, to render the services required by a Player Contract or this Agreement, or when a player is, for proper cause, suspended by his Team or the NBA in accordance with the terms of such Contract or this Agreement, the Current Base Compensation payable to the player for the year of the Contract during which such refusal or failure and/or suspension occurs may be reduced.”

The Sixers do not have to pay Simmons just because he showed up to practice as well. In the CBA, “when a player, without proper and reasonable excuse, refuses or intentionally fails to attend any practice session scheduled by his Team, he shall be subject to such discipline as is reasonable under the circumstances.” When he refused to go into a team drill, he put himself into a situation to be disciplined. The Sixers deemed his actions to be conduct detrimental to the team. Also, under the CBA “the Player agrees: (i) to give his best services, as well as his loyalty, to the Team, and to play basketball only for the Team and its assignees; (ii) to be neatly and fully attired in public; (iii) to conduct himself on and off the court according to the highest standards of honesty, citizenship, and sportsmanship; and (iv) not to do anything that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of the Team or the League.” This shows that players cannot get away with doing the bare minimum and actually have to do some work to in order to be paid.

There may be a trend here with organizations dealing with star players. If players want to make a lot of noise it makes sense for teams to not trade them for less than just compensation. The team should not trade a player because the player wants to leave. If the trade does not make sense for the team, then they should not be entitled to do so. The players are committed to their contract and are expected to play all the way through if healthy. If players really want to leave the only viable options are for them to retire or agree on a buyout. The player could ultimately lose a large percentage of their contract. This could emphasis the players to act professionally so that they are marketable to be traded. Also, if it gets to be too much like it is for the Sixers than based on the CBA they can continue to suspend Simmons or keep him away from the team. The star player may not be happy, but the CBA gives organizations the chance to do what is best for the team.

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