Star guard/forward Ben Simmons met with his 76ers teammates and coach Doc Rivers and informed them he’s not mentally ready to play, according to separate posts from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Simmons, 25, took part in Friday’s shootaround and appeared to be engaged with his teammates, Charania wrote, adding that Simmons informed his teammates that he does intend to join them.
The Sixers face the Atlantic Division rival Nets on Friday night.
He missed training camp and the preseason while seeking a trade, and the 76ers have indeed been exploring deals.
Rivers threw out Simmons from practice earlier this week after Simmons refused to take part in a drill. He has promptly suspended from the first game. Simmons then skipped an individual workout Thursday, citing back stiffness. The 76ers medical staff, however, cleared him to work out.
Sixers center Joel Embiid expressed frustration after Simmons was tossed from practice.
“At this point, I don’t care about that man,” Embiid told reporters. “He does whatever he wants. That’s not my job. … I’m only focused on trying to make the team better.”
Embiid has gone back and forth in support for Simmons.
“At the end of the day, our job is not to babysit somebody,” Embiid said. “We get paid just on the court. Play hard. Win some games. That’s all we get paid for. We don’t get paid to come out here and try to babysit somebody. That’s not our job. I’m sure my teammates feel that way.”
Simmons since has met with medical professionals and they will help determine when he is ready to play, Wojnarowski added.
The Cavaliers, Raptors, Spurs, Pistons and Timberwolves are among as many as nine teams said to be in pursuit of a Simmons trade.