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 worked with team physicians to treat a back disease, he has been reluctant to meet with team physicians to discuss his mental readiness, sources say.
Instead, sources said Simmons has been working with mental health professionals through the National Basketball Players Association since the summer. So far, Simmons has not yet given details of those meetings to the team, sources said.
On a regular basis at the team’s training facility in Camden, New Jersey, Simmons has engaged with teammates and members of the coaching staff in one-on-one scenarios, but has not moved on to rejoin the entire team activities, and it is unclear, when or if he wants to.
The Sixers remain eager to help Simmons deal with his mental readiness so he can return to the team. There is uncertainty as to whether he is making progress with the same goal, sources said.
Sources close to Simmons told ESPN that they expect to provide the team with updates on his progress when he is comfortable doing so.
The Sixers fined Simmons nearly $ 2 million for missing games, training and meetings earlier this season. But sources said the team stopped fining him when he told them on October 22 that he was not mentally ready to play.
There is a provision in the agreement that protects players’ pay for non-performance, “if such failure is caused by the player’s mental disability.”