“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,” Paul told Charania. “Either you help Ben, or come out and say he’s lying. Which one is it?”
The Sixers strongly denied that they are forcing Simmons to return, but per Charania, believe that he should take part in all team activities unless they receive information from their mental health professional that would prevent him playing.
Simmons received a schedule for Thursday’s game vs. the Raptors, leading him to believe he would not receive his game check if he didn’t join his teammates, Charania wrote, adding that every time the 76ers have sent Simmons a schedule and he’s failed to show, he’s been fined.
Simmons, 25, has not appeared in a game since Game 7 of the 76ers’ Eastern Conference semifinal loss to the Hawks. He has been at the center of trade rumors ever since.
“This is no longer about a trade,” Paul told Charania. “This is about finding a place where we can help Ben get back to his mental strength and get back on the floor. I want him on the floor playing the game that he loves.
“I want Ben on the floor whether that’s in a 76ers uniform or any other uniform, that’s not up to me, but I want him in a state where he can resume play. We want to cooperate and want to work him back on the floor.”