The Ben Simmons saga has marched on for a long time. But the twist in the story since late October has not been the former first overall pick out of LSU wanting a trade but that he has expressed to the team he is not yet mentally ready to play. There were some fines being levied towards him before he shared that. Then the fines were lifted with his admission. Then the fines were back on when the team apparently didn’t feel sufficiently included in the informational loop.
The latest from Shams Charania of “The Athletic” via Twitter late on Monday.
The Philadelphia 76ers have fined Ben Simmons for failing to travel on their six-game road trip, sources say. Details: pic.twitter.com/PEStgby08j— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 16, 2021
“The Philadelphia 76er are fining Ben Simmons for failing to travel on their six game road trip sources tell me. Simmons believes that the team continues to try to force him back on to the floor despite his mental health concerns and are disregarding his mental health issues. But the team’s positioning has been that until there’s information otherwise from their mental health specialist or Simmons that he should be expected to ramp back up for a return to the court.”
It’s a tricky subject. What role does an employer play in an employee’s mental health treatment program? How much information does a person owe to his or her organization? Certainly whether or not one is able to work for pay factors in to questions like this. If someone is on leave for a mental disability there is often some paper-work at a minimum, such as a doctor’s note, depending on the company.
How much basketball activities has be been involved in? We know Simmons has been at the facility routinely to work with skills and development coaches. Just how much or how often isn’t as clear.
But the team has a long-tough road trip coming now. And one where they will be particularly short-handed as they deal with a rash of injuries and COVID cases. Some fans will remember the stalemate between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs where the organization wanted the player (dealing with an injury) around the team more than the player was comfortable with at the time. There are millions of differences with this case but we’ll look for any potential precedent in an unprecedented situation for clues as to how it might shake out. It’s been very unpredictable up to this point.
“As Simmons’ agent Rich Paul told me last week this is no longer about a trade but Simmons receiving the help off the court that he needs but for now the fines and the stalemate continue.”
They’re set to visit Utah, Denver, Portland, Sacramento, and Golden State before they return home. It’s not getting any easier. Joel Embiid is still out of the lineup battling a symptomatic break through COVID infection.
We wish Simmons the best in terms of his recovery and what what he may be going through. And we wish the best to the players who are dealing with illness. Doc Rivers has a lot on his plate right now as do Daryl Morey, Elton Brand and the front office.