Because even though the start of the series is only two weeks away, there is something completely different that occupies the clubs and the media in the USA. Two of the league’s biggest stars do not seem to be ready, but with different causes:
* Ben Simmons has long been unhappy with the situation in the Philadelphia 76ers. Last season ended with a disappointing exit in the semifinals in the east against the Atlanta Hawks, and Simmons disappointed a lot in the playoffs and was heavily criticized.
He has since been clear that he wants to get away from the club. Still, the 76ers have not been able to find another club that wants the services of Simmons, in exchange for other players. Therefore, Simmons has been absent when the team met for the season run – up at the end of September.
The 25-year-old, who has four years left on his contract and earns 284 million kroner a year for the next four years, has in other words ended up in a real squeeze. According to ESPN, the club plans to fine the 25-year-old $ 360,000 per game he faces. This corresponds to just over three million Norwegian kroner.
He was not present when the team opened the pre-season with a 107-123 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night. In other words, he has already lost three million kroner this season.
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– Hard to understand
Simmons is one of the few who is paid his salary four times a year – around eight million dollars in September, the same amount at Christmas time, in March and at the end of the season. The 76ers have chosen not to pay the first sum to Simmons as a result of the 25-year-old not showing up.
Exactly what is the cause of Simmons’ strike is somewhat more difficult to understand. Maybe they are many. At least there have been many rumors about the basis. Only those around the Simmons and 76ers know the truth. What is at least crystal clear is that both parties are losing out on the conflict, says Vegar Fjell.
He follows the NBA closely and is also behind the Philadelphia 76ers’ Scandinavian supporters club on Twitter.
– 76ers are left without one of their big stars with a strong CV despite their young age. Simmons, on the other hand, has probably acquired a very bad reputation with this tactical choice. And naturally, the whole NBA follows. For what precedent is set if Simmons, who last year signed a giant four-year contract with the 76ers, can now strike out of the team because he is not happy?
He thinks Simmons will be traded at some point this season, which means he will be sent to another club in exchange for other players.
I can not imagine that he is still a 76ers player when the season ends. The last opportunity for now takes place at the trade deadline midway through the season. We may have to wait until then. I think it’s about two things: first, the 76ers can get some peace of mind if his temporary replacement works just fine. For example, if the Tyrese Maxey delivers a solid performance, there is no hurry. Secondly, it is about the offers that come.
– 76ers seems willing to praise him as if he had a value similar to the one he had last year. They are unlikely to get it, but they are unlikely to sell very cheaply either. I actually think they might have to wait a few months into the season hoping that a superstar gets frustrated somewhere else and then throw Simmons into a trade for that star. But whether that strategy succeeds, I am more uncertain.
Not vaccinated – can be expensive
* Kyrie Irving can also lose millions of kroner, but for a completely different reason. He has chosen not to get vaccinated, which can present major problems this season. Due to the fact that the Brooklyn Nets player has not been vaccinated, he is not allowed to train or play matches in his hometown of New York and San Francisco.
Laws in the two big cities mean that players who play for the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors must be vaccinated to be able to enter halls and arenas. Right now, that’s not possible for Irving.
He can lose $ 380,000, or $ 3.2 million, per game he does not play. It could mean over 15 million dollars, or 130 million kroner, if he does not choose to be vaccinated during this season.
– You never quite know Kyrie Irving. He is unpredictable and a slightly loose cannon. Then you also do not know how the NBA and the state of New York solve it. If the situation in the US calms down during the season, will the requirement for vaccination to play in New York disappear? It may be that Irving hopes that this can happen, even though it seems quite distant at the moment, says Fjell.
He thinks the Nets have to make a decision anyway – can they try to go through the whole season with one of their best out in the halves of the matches?
– I think the answer is yes. They have two other superstars who can pull the load and ensure a good basic series without Irving. The danger is injury to either James Harden or Kevin Durant. Then the need for Irving will intensify. My tip is that they know Irving, let him be who he is, and give gas with the hope that he will change his mind or that the rules will change. They have ended up in a real squeeze, both of them.