Ben Simmons is currently treating his mental health issues after a tumultuous offseason where he refused to return to the Philadelphia 76ers. Now that he's back in Philly, the situation hasn't gotten any better for the Australian playmaker.
In recent weeks, the Sixers resumed finings for Simmons after he refused to share details about his treatment with team's officials, which became another issue for the organization and the player.
Rich Paul called out the Sixers for 'forcing' Simmons into playing and worsening his condition, making things more complicated for both parties. Things look calm now, but Simmons isn't close to making a return to the court.
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, he's far away from returning to action.
Is he any closer to playing for the Sixers?
In two words, hell no.
[Rich] Paul’s interview, and this quote in particular, made you wonder if a Simmons return might be nearing.
“This is no longer about a trade,” Paul said. “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.”
Yet when I checked in to update the state of affairs five days later, the message a source with knowledge of Simmons’ status shared was significantly less hopeful. As it stands, I don’t see a return happening anytime soon — if ever. What’s more, a source with knowledge of the talks between the Sixers and Simmons’ representatives indicated he’s reiterated his strong desire to be traded in recent days.
Even with the Sixers creating a 30-man list to deal Simmons, the rest of the teams aren't looking at the situation in Philly with good eyes. Ben's mental issues have become a major source of concern for rival squads, and it's unclear if anybody would make a move for him as things stand right now.
In the absence of a Simmons return, sources say, the Sixers’ belief is rival teams have grown even less motivated than before about making a move for Simmons because of the escalating uncertainty that surrounds him. If his mental health struggles aren’t solely the product of his Sixers experience, in other words, then who’s to say it will be any different somewhere else? From this standpoint, it’s not hard to find rival executives who confirm these suspicions.
He has been involved in blockbuster trade ideas, too, including one that placed him on the Minnesota Timberwolves. While some people think Simmons could be leaving the Sixers very soon, the situation looks more complex for him and the Sixers.
It remains to be seen how this situation will play out, but the latest reports insist that the player isn't going anywhere soon.