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The Ben Simmons standoff keeps finding new ways to get uglier.
Two weeks after the Philadelphia 76ers point guard said he was mentally unready to play again, ESPN reports the team has grown increasingly frustrated with Simmons' refusal to accept any help on that front.
Simmons has reportedly worked with the Sixers' doctors to treat a back ailment, another reason provided for his absence from the court, but he has been unwilling to meet with team doctors to discuss his mental readiness.
Instead of working with the team's staff, Simmons has reportedly been working with mental health professionals through the National Basketball Players Association since the summer. He has reportedly yet to provide the team with any details from those meetings.
Simmons' camp apparently told ESPN they expect to update the team on the player's progress "once he is comfortable doing so."
Ben Simmons-Sixers relationship remains a mess
If you had to pick a low point in Simmons' and the Sixers' back-and-forth over the last month, "publicly airing grievances over how a player is receiving therapy" would be a strong contender.
Some other solid picks would be "turning away teammates trying to extend an olive branch," "withholding 25 percent of a $33 million salary," "getting called out by Joel Embiid on media day," "Donald Trump comparisons," "practicing with a cell phone in pocket," "one-game suspension" and "putting up $5 million South Jersey home for sale."
It hasn't been a good month for either side.
Simmons made it quite clear he doesn't want to play for the Sixers again, but then Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey made it quite clear that he had no plans to trade Simmons without getting comparable value back (unlike, say, teams with other Klutch clients). The result is a player reporting to a team with seemingly little intention of playing for that team, and so now stuff like this is happening.
ESPN reports the Sixers stopped fining Simmons once he informed them he wasn't mentally ready to play on Oct. 22, likely due to a provision in the collective bargaining agreement that protects a player's salary if his inability to play is "caused by the player's mental disability."
In a statement, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts defended Simmons after he said he wasn't mentally ready.
“Really? Is it so hard to believe that Ben’s not mentally at a place to compete? Professional athletes — like the rest of us — have difficult periods in our lives that require time and energy to heal. We have and will continue to provide Ben with the support and resources he needs to work through this. Threatening the prospect of 'another four years' serves no one’s interests. Like Tobias [Harris], I say let’s respect Ben’s space and embrace him while allowing him the time to move forward.
"So, take a breath and count to 10: We are all too good to continue to play this perpetual game of chicken.”