After missing the first two weeks of the NBA 2021-22 season, it seems that Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons is back at team practice.
Ben Simmons has been capturing headlines since the NBA season began, but he’s nowhere to be found on the court.
The 76ers are 3-2, and Simmons has been sidelined for the first two weeks of the season. First, a suspension for “conduct detrimental to the team” at practice sidelined him, then a back injury has had him off his feet for the past week. Knicks fans added their own commentary to the issue when they chanted “where’s Ben Simmons?” during a 112-99 victory over the Philadelphia team.
Simmons met with the team last week and told them he wasn’t “ready to play“, finally revealing to teammates why Simmons has been advocating for a trade in the first place.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, sources revealed that Simmons “does not feel like himself mentally right now to play in Philadelphia and needs time.”
It looks like Simmons is on the mend, as he has been reported at Friday’s practice and even participated in today’s shootaround.
According to 76ers head coach Doc Rivers, Simmons’ impending return depends more on his mental health than his physical health.
Ben Simmons returns to practice, but game return remains uncertain
Even though Simmons appears to be in suitable physical health, what Rivers and earlier reports indicate is that Simmons is mentally struggling with accepting his role on the 76ers.
Simmons has been unsuccessfully fighting for a trade for months, which is why he eventually caved and began attending practice before the season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans.
That is where Simmons was flagged for detrimental conduct because he refused to participate in shooting drills.
Despite Simmons’ reluctance, the 76ers remain uninterested in trading him, as 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey plainly stated during a radio interview earlier this week. According to Morey, everyone “should buckle in” for what’s to come, because the 76ers are not trading Simmons for anything less than what they believe he is worth.
“Right now, any sort of trade, which obviously Ben Simmons wants, the best thing we could do is get role players back,” Morey explained on 97.5 The Fanatic’s The Mike Missanelli Show. “That makes no sense, that will give us no better chance to win the title if we were to move Ben Simmons for role players.”