Simmons is also receiving help from mental health professionals, a process he began during the offseason, according to sources.
Sources added that Simmons has informed the franchise for months that he is not feeling mentally ready, but that the organization has insisted on attempts to get him to play again.
Multiple sources have told The Athletic that Simmons has provided the organization with the names of each of his mental health professionals. The franchise has access to Simmons’ mental health professionals, but those professionals are not able to provide further information to the 76ers without Simmons’ consent due to patient confidentiality. So far, Philadelphia does not have a mental health doctor on its staff with whom Simmons is comfortable, sources say.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement says a player treated by a non-team psychiatrist “shall provide the Team with all information it may request concerning any condition that in the judgment of the Team’s physician may affect the Player’s ability to play skilled basketball.” Simmons himself is saying he’s not ready to play. However, that clause does not apply to psychologists/other mental-health professionals. It’s unclear which type of mental-health professional Simmons has been seeing.
In some respects, it’s confounding the 76ers have repeatedly shifted stances on fining Simmons while he has been so resolute in his stance that he’s mentally unready to play.
But it at least looked like the team made a genuine effort to support Simmons. His CBA obligations momentarily aside, Simmons could also deserve leniency if his mental-health issues are directly tied to the 76ers.
That said, Philadelphia’s frustration is also understandable. Simmons wanted to never play for the 76ers again. Do they owe paying him while being kept so in the dark on his ability to fulfill basic job functions?
As this standoff twists and turns, that question looks like one headed toward some arbiter.