Sixers Resume Fining Ben Simmons For Missing Games, Practices

The 76ers have resumed fining star guard/forward Ben Simmons for not playing in games or participating in practices, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Ben Simmons

Simmons has already been docked his $360K game check for not playing in Thursday’s win over the Pistons, Wojnarowski reported, and he will continue to be fined for failing to participate in activities such as strength training, film study and shootarounds and other required team activities.

Simmons has reported to the team, but recently met with director of basketball operations Daryl Morey and indicated he is still not mentally ready to play.

Now, the 76ers expect Simmons to cooperate with team doctors on addressing his mental health and resume participating in his “basketball-related obligations,” Wojnarowski reported.

So the Sixers will again start placing Simmons’ salary into an escrow account — which they had at first released when he had been cooperating on a path to playing, per Wojnarowski.

This is reportedly based on Simmons’ current “unwillingness to accept off-court resources from the team or to provide any updates on his work with mental health professionals,” wrote Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors.

Simmons has expressed a desire to be traded and sources close to him have said he will never play for the 76ers again, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In other words, little progress has been made in terms of Simmons suiting up since the end of last season, when the 76ers and agent Rich Paul first met to discuss Simmons future.

Simmons, 25, is still drawing interest from multiple teams, though reports suggest he won’t be moved for at least another month, as players who signed offseason deals won’t be eligible to be traded until Dec. 15.

Both the Sixers and teams interested in Simmons are likely to see where they stand early in the season before pursuing trades.

Shortly after finally reporting to the Sixers last month, Simmons was thrown out of practice by coach Doc Rivers for refusing to enter a drill, then skipped an individual workout, citing a back issue.

The Cavaliers, Spurs, Pistons, Pacers, Kings, Timberwolves and Raptors were cited last month as some of the teams with a strong interest in exploring a trade for Simmons.

He is set to $33 million this season as part of a five-year, $177.2 million extension signed in 2019.

“There’s a provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that protects players’ salaries in the event they’re unable to render services ‘if such failure has been caused by the player’s mental disability,'” Adams wrote.  “As such, Simmons’ camp will likely fight back against the new fines he’s facing. If the two sides can’t reach an amicable agreement, it’s possible they’ll have to eventually take the matter to an arbitration hearing.”

The Sixers (7-2) have had little trouble adjusting to life without Simmons, having won five straight entering Saturday’s road game vs. the Bulls.

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