76ers Ben Simmons finally meets with the team's doctors
The feud between the Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons has had no shortage of twists and turns but could it finally be coming to an end?
In a significant turn around, the want away point guard has decided to come back to the table.
Ben Simmons meets with 76ers' doctors
Though he initially refused, it seems that Philadelphia 76ers All-Star guard Ben Simmons had a change of heart, as he finally met with a team-recommended medical specialist to discuss his mental health on Monday. While it remains unclear as to when Simmons will return to the court, Monday's meeting is a significant turn around considering what Simmons' stance has been in recent weeks.
Recently the Sixers had re-initiated fines on Simmons for his failure to honor his contractual obligations to cooperate with the franchise regarding his stated mental health reasons for not training or playing. Simmons acceptance of the team's protocols will surely give the Sixers hope as they try to move towards a return to play for Simmons.
Simmons and the Sixers have been at it
Having fined Simmons late last week - $360,000 - for missing Thursday's game against the Pistons, the team indicated there was growing frustration that Simmons was not providing the results of his sessions with mental health specialists provided by the National Basketball Players Association. In addition to his game salary fine, the Sixers had also begun fining Simmons for his failure to participate in basketball-related activities such as strength training, film study and other responsibilities.
With four years and $147 million remaining on his contract it is interesting to note that while these events have played out, Simmons has in fact been in attendance regularly at the team's facilities, participating in some of the daily basketball activity with coaches and individual teammates.
The saga between Simmons and the Sixers has now gone on for more than four months. The moment which precipitated the whole scenario is widely acknowledged as the team's Eastern Conference semifinals loss to Atlanta. Simmons was heavily criticized in the fallout after the game and went on to ask for a trade saying he had no intention of playing for the franchise again. While the Sixers have considered the move, it is widely understood that they would do so only if a suitable replacement could be found, which to date has not been the case. In fining Simmons last week the 76ers believe they were exercising their last resort.
According to sources, the team's position was that of support as such they felt there was no other option but to sanction the player in light of the fact that he refused to share basic details about his mental health consultations while simultaneously refusing to accept team authorized mental health specialists.
How have the 76ers been doing?
While Simmons is yet to play this season, it would appear that the Sixers aren't phased as they have raced to an 8-3 record. Four of those victories have impressively been without starting forward Tobias Harris who has been sidelined due to covid-19, The Sixers currently boast the best record in the Eastern Conference. They will, however, be put to the test as All-Star center Joel Embiid tested positive for covid-19 on Monday and will understandably sidelined for a few games to come.
With this new turn of events the Sixers will surely be hopeful, but the prospect of a trade still looms. If there is one that is certain, however, it's that Simmons won't be going anywhere unless the Sixers are happy with who comes in the opposite direction. According to Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, the only way a deal happens is if the Sixers get a high-level player in return for Simmons which unfortunately after months of trade negotiations, is yet to be a reality.