Report: 76ers frustrated by Ben Simmons not keeping them abreast of mental-health progress

76ers star Ben Simmons
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Ben Simmons told the 76ers he wasn’t mentally to play. They stopped fining him and said they’d provide every resource he needs.

Yet, he still hasn’t played for Philadelphia this season and doesn’t appear close to doing so.

Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski:

The Philadelphia 76ers are increasingly frustrated with Ben Simmons’ refusal to accept organizational assistance to address his mental readiness to play, sources told ESPN.

While Simmons has been working with team doctors to treat a back ailment, he has been unwilling to meet with team doctors to discuss his mental readiness, sources said.

Instead, sources said, Simmons has worked with mental health professionals via the National Basketball Players Association since the summer. So far Simmons has yet to provide details of those meetings to the team, sources said.

This is such a delicate situation. Players facing mental-health challenges should be supported. It’s also impossible to overlook that Simmons didn’t want to play for the 76ers ever again.

Is Simmons putting the appropriate effort into mentally preparing to play? Though suspicion is understandable, it’s tough to see a reasonable solution other than taking him at his word.

Other thorny questions are at least theoretically answerable. For example: What duty does Simmons have to keep the 76ers, who are paying him, in the loop on any therapy? What if his mental-health challenges are directly tied to the team? Even if Simmons is truly trying his hardest to feel ready to play, it’d be understandable if he prefers going through the players’ union. Labor ought to have a natural skepticism of management.

The 76ers appear stuck. How can they punish a player who says he’s mentally unready to play? A trade appears several weeks off, at best.

So, frustration mounts.