Ben Simmons has decided to accept the help that the Philadelphia 76ers have been offering, and has met with a mental health specialist, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This comes after the team had started fining Simmons again, including a $360,000 game check for last Thursday’s game against the Detroit Pistons.
The Sixers had been fining him throughout his preseason holdout but stopped once he reported to the team and told them that he was not mentally ready to play. However, Simmons had reportedly denied the mental health resources that the team had offered, choosing instead to work with the NBPA. As a result, the team chose to fine Simmons until he cooperates with team physicians on his mental health and any other basketball-related obligations.
Simmons has reportedly refused to share basic details of his treatment with the team. The money Simmons is fined will be placed into an escrow account, as was the money he lost during his initial series of fines, which was eventually released after he reported to the team. While Simmons has been reporting to the team facility regularly, the team will now reportedly start fining him again for failing to participate in any required activities, including strength training, film sessions and some presence at practice and shootarounds.
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The 76ers currently have the best record in the Eastern Conference at 8-2 but will need a resolution on the Simmons situation if they plan to sustain that success. The team is currently without Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid, both of whom have entered the league’s health and safety protocols.
Simmons returning would fortify Philadelphia’s rotation, but a trade would at least bring in some needed reinforcements. Top basketball executive Daryl Morey has held firm on his asking price, as evident by recent reports that they demanded Jaylen Brown in any potential deal with the Boston Celtics. Philadelphia has thus far been unwilling to trade Simmons for anything less than a player they deem to be a difference-maker.
There appears to be no end in sight to the standoff between Simmons and the 76ers. Morey recently claimed that this could go on for the entire four-year duration of Simmons’ contract. With no trade on the horizon and Simmons still unwilling to cooperate with the team, this situation appears likely to drag on for quite some time.