The stalemate between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers has no immediate end in sight. The team has resumed fining their disgruntled star after he refused to join them on their six-game road trip. Simmons has cited mental health concerns for his absence.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Simmons believes the Sixers are trying to “force him back onto the floor despite his mental health concerns.” They want proof that he is consulting a mental health specialist after he initially turned down meeting with a team-appointed doctor. Simmons’ agent Rich Paul told Charania that Simmons met with the Sixers’ mental health expert for one hour on November 8. He’s not faking the illness, although some fans and media think otherwise.
“The team’s positioning has been that until there’s information otherwise from their mental health specialist Simmons should be expected to ramp back up and return to the court,” Charania said. “As Simmons’ agent Rich Paul told me last week this is no longer about a trade but Simmons receiving the help that he needs off the court. But for now, the fines and the stalemate continue.”
Simmons stands to lose $360,000 per game which would amount to $2.16 million at the end of the road trip. The Sixers could choose to dole out additional fines for missed meetings and practices. He last joined his teammates on November 11 for a film session prior to tip-off against Toronto but didn’t stay for the game.
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Sixers Rule Joel Embiid Out
Philadelphia ruled out All-Star center Joel Embiid for Tuesday night’s game (November 16) in Utah. The Sixers will also be down guard Matisse Thybulle (COVID-19), forward Danny Green (hamstring), and Simmons who continues his public battle with the team. Embiid hasn’t suited up since November 6 when he scored 30 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. And the team has lost four straight games without the big man in the lineup.
Doc Rivers gave a slightly concerning update on Embiid’s health on his first day in the health and safety protocol. The head coach said “he’s not doing great, he’s struggling” but there have been sparse updates since November 8. Andre Drummond has started at center for the ailing star.
Coming Off Tough Loss to Indiana
The Sixers are coming off a tough road loss to the Indiana Pacers 118-113. Tobias Harris paced them with a season-high 32 points while Tyrese Maxey added 24 points. Drummond finished with 11 points and 16 rebounds.
Former Sixers guard T.J. McConnell was a pest in the fourth quarter and hit three big buckets to ice it for the Pacers. Justin Holiday poured in a team-high 27 points for Indiana off the bench.
“Holiday goes out there and starts rolling,” Harris told reporters, via The Associated Press. “We gave him a lot of good looks. I just thought there were too many possessions where we let them get too comfortable there. To rally from that with everything else going on, it was tough for us.”