Report: Ben Simmons tells 76ers he still isn’t mentally ready to play

76ers coach Doc Rivers and Ben Simmons
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Ben Simmons, shortly after ending his holdout, told the 76ers he wasn’t mentally ready to play.

Chaos followed.

Simmons got kicked out of practice for not doing a drill, suspended and ripped by teammate Joel Embiid. Simmons then claimed a back injury.

A meeting today was presented as a chance for everyone to get on the same page.

But it seems the status quo remains.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Simmons never wants to play for the 76ers again. That’s why he held out.

But he also got heavily fined for that.

It really seems Simmons reported only to halt the fines – but still has no intention of playing for the 76ers.

We’ll see whether that works. Simmons’ contract calls for him to play. If he’s refusing to do that, Philadelphia could seemingly penalize him. However, that becomes more difficult if Simmons says he’s hurt. Obviously, teams can’t fine players for missing games due to a physical injury. But Simmons also citing a mental-health issue pushes traditional boundaries – in who knows what direction?

With many players, there’d be a more-compassionate discussion about mental health. But Simmons doesn’t receive that treatment. For one, criticizing his psyche has been normalized for years and only intensified lately. There are fair questions about whether Simmons has taken the appropriate steps to mentally prepare himself to play.

The 76ers aren’t trading him soon. So, we’ll see how Simmons progresses – or doesn’t progress – toward playing.