NBA commissioner Adam Silver didn’t like the circumstances that led to the blockbuster Ben Simmons-James Harden trade. He just doesn’t see how to fix them.
Silver noted that players unhappy with their teams and asking for trades is nothing new. But the commissioner said Saturday that a player taking Simmons’ position with the Philadelphia 76ers, refusing to play knowing he would be fined, is more complicated.
“I don’t have anything specific in mind that would prevent a situation like this,” Silver said.
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“But I think we and the players have a common collective interest in making sure contracts are honoured.”
Simmons breaks silence on trade fiasco
Silver started his annual All-Star press conference on an upbeat tone, saying people across the league are feeling more comfortable as the coronavirus pandemic shows signs of easing and restrictions are lifted.
He talked about getting the league back on the road, for games outside the United States and other community events across the country.
“It’s been a tough time for so many people, but I’m honestly thrilled to be back here in person with so many people,” Silver said.
“I would say it’s been a celebratory mood for members of the NBA family.”
But he couldn’t hide his disappointment with the circumstances surrounding the deal at the trade deadline which ended with Simmons moving from Philadelphia to Brooklyn, just 13 months after the Nets acquired Harden from Houston. .
“Again, it’s no secret that I’ve expressed my displeasure with the public trade demands,” Silver said.
“In the case of Ben Simmons, I don’t think – I can’t think of changing the system to the extent that you have a player who’s willing to sit out and not get paid, which is the scenario. that we have right now,” Silver said.
“I don’t want to speak for Ben, but that’s the posture we saw in this case of a player saying, ‘I’m unhappy in the city, and I’m not going to play’.
“And you had a team saying, ‘We’re not going to pay you, and there’s going to be discipline’. There’s a stalemate.”
Silver said he was sensitive to the wishes of the players, noting the added stress caused by the pandemic. But he is also worried about the teams and players who are affected by trade rumours.
“Of course, as commissioner of this league, we want our players to be happy. We want them to be in situations where they think they can be the most productive,” Silver said.
“At the same time, we want to run an orderly league, and so like many things in life, we have to find the appropriate balance there.”
Simmons cited mental health issues for his belief he had to leave Philadelphia, saying last week they started ahead of last season and the 76ers were aware of that. Silver said he didn’t know the specifics of Simmons’ situation, but mental health was something teams were spending more time on even before the pandemic.
“I think that’s something that we’ve talked about a lot in terms of all of our community programs, and that’s another area where I really don’t doubt we can do more,” he said.
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