After the Philadelphia 76ers resumed fining Ben Simmons last week, the 76er revealed through his agent that the team is making his mental health even worse.
Ben Simmons has reached a new level of unhappiness as a 76er, according to an exclusive released by The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Charania reported on Nov. 11 that Simmons believes “the 76ers’ tactics are worsening his mental health instead of supporting him, and want to deem him mentally fit in order to force him to play.”
Simmons’ agent, NBA superagent Rich Paul, spoke with Charania on Simmons’ behalf.
“I truly believe the fines, the targeting, the negative publicity shined on the issue — that’s very unnecessary and has furthered the mental health issues for Ben,” Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul said. “Either you help Ben, or come out and say he’s lying. Which one is it?”
The team had an opportunity to respond, saying that they are “absolutely not” forcing him to return or accusing Simmons of lying. The team believes that Simmons should participate in all team activities until a 76ers medical professional evaluates Simmons and determines that he should be exempted due to mental health issues.
As of now, the organization said they have been “fully supportive” of Simmons’ process and have given Simmons all the resources he needs to facilitate a return.
Simmons has yet to meet with the doctors the 76ers have provided in order to be medically evaluated as to whether or not he can play basketball.
Ben Simmons believes the 76ers are making his mental health worse
It’s difficult to recap everything that has happened between Ben Simmons and his Philadelphia team, but the back-and-forth began when Simmons made it clear he wanted to be traded away from the team.
The team has refused for months, insisting that they want someone who is as valuable as Simmons is, and no one offered yet has been worth a trade. At one point, Simmons said he “intends to never play another game” for the 76ers.
The 76ers began fining Simmons to pressure him to begin the season, which prompted him to reluctantly join team practices before the 2021-22 season opener on Oct. 20. Before Simmons could set foot on the court, he was suspended for that first game due to “conduct detrimental to the team.”
After the suspension, Simmons suffered a back injury that kept him out of additional games. Once his back healed, Simmons indicated that he needed time off due to mental health issues, which the team excused for several games. He was seen practicing with the team on Oct. 29, but he never played in a game this season.
After a certain point though, the 76ers mandated that Simmons be evaluated by a team doctor, which Simmons refused. The team began fining Simmons last week, and now Simmons is making public comments through his agent challenging their actions.
At this point, the animosity between Simmons and the 76ers continues to fester as the two parties remain in a standstill. The 76ers won’t trade him, and Simmons won’t play due to his mental health issues. The team wants to evaluate him to determine his status, and Simmons refuses, now accusing the team of failing to help him.
Currently, the 76ers are tied for most wins in the Eastern Conference with an 8-5 record as they head into a Saturday night game against the Indiana Pacers. Whether Simmons will rejoin the 76ers at any point this season remains uncertain, but the situation only continues to worsen.