The situation between the Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons continues to sour.
The 76ers fine Ben Simmons…again
In yet another turn in one of the most publicized sagas of the NBA season, the Philadelphia 76ers fined All-Star guard Ben Simmons his $360,000 game salary for missing Thursday night’s win against the Detroit Pistons. The 76ers also indicated that they intend to continue fining him until he cooperates with the team’s doctors regarding his mental health and fulfills other basketball-related obligations.
ESPN Sources: The 76ers fined Ben Simmons his $360K game salary for missing Thursday’s game and plan to resume fining him until he cooperates with team physicians on his mental health issues and fulfills other basketball-related obligations. Story: https://t.co/U4RyCJwKp5
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 5, 2021
As was the case before the Sixers will place Simmons’ future salary into an escrow account. Earlier this season, they released Simmons’ pending salary payments from escrow after he had seemingly agreed to cooperate with the team, in an effort to return to playing. It is widely understood that the Sixers believe that they have been accommodating where Simmons’ stated need for mental health assistance is concerned. In light of this the team believes there is no other course of action at this point than to sanction their star point guard. Simmons, who has worked with mental health professionals provided by the National Basketball Players Association, has continued to refuse to share the basic details of his sessions with the association’s physicians. While doing so he has continually declined to accept consultation with any specialists arranged by the team.
Sixers vs Simmons
The news comes after four months of feuding between the team and the three time All-Star. Initially Simmons had demanded a trade, out rightly stating that he had did not want to play for Philadelphia again. As time ticked on, however, Simmons seemed to back track on his stance and did in fact report for training camp. The point guard has yet to feature for the 76ers this season. Important to note is the fact that Simmons still has four years and $147 million remaining on his contract. Though he has requested a trade and shows no intention of rejoining the team, it is certain that Philadelphia will not green light any move unless they get their money’s worth.
While Simmons has been a regular attendee at the team’s facilities, even participating in some daily basketball activity with coaches and individual teammates, the 76ers are still set to resume fining him for his failures to participate in a variety of activities such as strength training, film study and some presence at team practices and game-day shoot-arounds. To date the Sixers boast the best record in the Eastern Conference with 7-2. Begging the question, do they really need Ben Simmons?
Prior to this Simmons had incurred some $2 million in sanctions for initially refusing to report for training camp and then when he did, only participated in limited fashion. Philadelphia had stopped fining him two weeks ago when he stated that he was not mentally prepared to play. The NBA allows for the protection of a player’s salary should he be unable to play due to mental reasons. Since that time, Simmons, has in fact been working with team physicians on a back ailment but has continued to stand firm on not sharing information from his mental health sessions.
Does Simmons stay or go?
As the situations worsens the Sixers have of course entertained the idea of trading the Australian, however, they are in a bind as they are yet to find a trade package that meets their asking price nor have they been able to convince Simmons to return to play in the interim while they look for a solution. According to Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, the team naturally wants a high-level player in exchange for Simmons. At present there have been no suitable options available.