The 76ers are withholding the 25% of Ben Simmons’ 2021-22 salary that’s due Friday.

Simmons did not attend media day or the Sixers’ first three training camp practices of the season, and it therefore seem that he hasn’t fulfilled his contract at all. The three-time All-Star was set to receive the second quarter of his salary Friday. 

He requested a trade early this past offseason in Chicago, according to Sixers’ president of basketball operations Daryl Morey. On Thursday, Joel Embiid called Simmons’ absence “weird, disappointing, and borderline kind of disrespectful to all the guys that are out here fighting for their lives.”

25% of Simmons’ salary is approximately $8.25 million. He’s under contract for four more seasons. Marc Stein reported “there is strong belief” within Simmons’ camp that he’ll be paid the $8.25 million once this standoff is resolved.

So uh, what’s next?

Jake Fischer — who first reported the news — reports that “there have been growing whispers this week among NBA sources with knowledge of the situation that Simmons could respond by actually reporting to Philadelphia in the coming days, but maintaining that he is injured and unable to compete.” 

That would quite a development. Simmons has been healthy enough to work out this summer — as Embiid noted Monday, “we all see the videos” of him sinking jumpers on Instagram — and so one imagines such a claim would not be taken at face value. 

The Sixers’ first preseason game is one road Monday against the Toronto Raptors. Their regular-season opener is October 20 in New Orleans against the Pelicans.