The Sixers are still hoping that, after the trade deadline comes and goes, maybe Ben will come back and play. But someone I talked to with Klutch yesterday said not a chance.
In terms of Simmons’ eventual availability with a new team, the message has been sent that he would be ready to play after a few weeks of intensified conditioning and court action.
The 76ers reportedly stopped fining Simmons, who said he was mentally unready to play, because he was ostensibly working toward being able to fulfill his contractual duties.
But someone from Simmons’ agency is already eliminating the possibility Simmons could play for Philadelphia? That raises questions. That Simmons could apparently take the court far more quickly if dealt to another team only increases suspicion.
There might be unique mental issues with Simmons playing for the 76ers. But where is the line between Simmons not being mentally ready to play for Philadelphia and Simmons just not wanting to play for Philadelphia? These are messy gray areas.
The 76ers could resume fining Simmons, as they have done on and off throughout the season. But that would likely be challenged. However, they might prefer that – or even paying Simmons not to play – rather than trading Simmons for less than optimal return.
This is just such a difficult situation for everyone involved.