Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons has been the talk of the league over the past week. Having made it clear that he wants out of Philly. The Sixers have reportedly been trying to trade Ben Simmons all summer but have not found any suitable deals so far.
The Australian is represented by Klutch Sports, who also represent LeBron James & Anthony Davis. And Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has made his feelings about the group very clear.
Charles Barkley knows a little about demanding a trade out of Philadelphia, having done so back in 1992. However, he sees the Simmons situation differently and believes the Rich Paul/Klutch Sports group is bullying the league.
"You know how that group works. They try to trade their players to where they want to. They do it the way they want to. Anthony Davis – they had better deals from Boston for Anthony Davis, and I think maybe even New York, and they’re like, ‘No, he’s gonna go to L.A. and play with LeBron.
He’s not gonna play.’ They just bully the league. At some point, a team or the league got to stand up to, ‘Wait a minute. I paid your guy. You can’t bully me to trade him and me taking some trash back.’ So I’m hoping somebody in the Sixers organization got some stones."Charles Barkley
Barkley demands that the 76ers stand strong and only trade Simmons on their terms, with the point guard entering just the second season of a five-year extension in 2021/22. So far, the team appears to be standing strong by refusing to lower their asking price for Simmons. But they may start to panic as we head towards the start of the new season and beyond.
In reality, superstars have demanded trades to particular teams or cities for the past 40 years. Klutch Sports showing an ability to get their players to where they want to play shows they are worth signing with. However, contracts have to retain some meaning, and with Simmons under contract with Philadelphia until 2025. They still hold all the cards in this battle of wills.
The Sixers are clearly open to the idea of trading Simmons, so it is possible that GM Elton Brand & Klutch Sports can iron out a deal to please both parties. But right now, it appears Simmons is prepared to play hardball by refusing to show up for training camp, but Philadelphia still wants an all-star in return for their all-star. Let's see who blinks first.