The question of "Who Will Blink First in Ugly Ben Simmons-Philadelphia 76ers Staring Contest?" was answered last week when Simmons reported to the team, cleared the necessary protocols and rejoined the squad for practice ahead of the season opener Wednesday.
While Simmons swerved in the game of chicken, he's not precisely contrite and conciliatory. Paraphrasing The Athletic's John Hollinger, Simmons may win this battle by attempting to destroy the Sixers from within.
What triggered Simmons' return? Probably a deeper understanding of the rules within the NBA's collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which meant unrecoverable fines for his no-show. The 76ers withholding the second balloon payment in Simmons' contract (roughly $8.3 million) was... effective.
Several agents called the move outrageous, citing that if Simmons had culled $1 million in fines, the team shouldn't be withholding about $8 million in salary. They also acknowledged that while Simmons will likely get most of his money back after he and the team go to arbitration, the process might take six to nine or even 12 months to resolve.