According to ESPN, the Philadelphia 76ers are growing increasingly frustrated with Ben Simmons due to his refusal to meet with team doctors to discuss his mental readiness.
Simmons demanded a trade in the offseason, and when the trade demand wasn’t met, he held out of training camp. He rejoined the team during the preseason but stated he was not “mentally ready” to play basketball.
This is a delicate subject matter, as nobody except a licensed and trained professional, can diagnose Simmons with a mental health condition. So there is no point in speculating.
What we do know is he does not want to play for the Philadelphia 76ers and is hoping he gets traded without having to ever wear their uniform again.
Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has made it clear that he will only move Simmons for a difference-making player. And Morey would prefer that Simmons plays, preferably well to increase his trade value, while they wait for that trade.
In a recent interview, Morey was emphatic on the team’s position.
“This could be four years. This is not day-to-day. Every day, we’re going to expect Ben Simmons to be back here, or we’re trading him for a difference-maker. There’s no other outcome that doesn’t materially hurt our chance to win the championship in Joel Embiid’s prime.
“We would want him to play and be back starting tomorrow. But if he chooses to take some other path, that’s his choice.”
While Simmons has refused to meet with Sixers’ mental health professionals, according to the ESPN report he has been working with mental health professionals via the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) since the summer.
This is an interesting development.
Players often seek their own medical advice away from the team doctors for obvious reasons. Despite their duty to do what is right by the patient, these doctors are compensated by the teams. So they in effect work for the organization.
The NBPA is the union that represents the players’ interests. One could see why Simmons would be more inclined to work with their mental health professionals instead of the Sixers’.
Simmons has been unwilling to share the details of his consultations with the NBPA mental health professionals with the Sixers, according to the report.
For now Simmons regularly attends the team’s practice facility in Camden, New Jersey. Although he hasn’t rejoined the team for all activities, he is speaking with teammates and coaches one-on-one.
— Ky Carlin (@Ky_Carlin) October 30, 2021
As we’ve mentioned previously, this will not be a happy ending with Simmons returning to Philly. Dec. 15, the date when recent free agents will be eligible for trades is important.
If Morey and the Sixers are going to make a move before the Feb. 10 deadline, look at Dec. 15, because it’s the first day that free agents who signed contracts this past offseason can be traded.