Mere days after Ben Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, dragged the Philadelphia 76ers for their perceived mistreatment of his client, the team has once again punished its disgruntled point guard.
With Philly set to begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday and Simmons opting not to join the team, NBA insider Shams Charania reports that the 76ers have fined the three-time All-Star as the two sides continue to be at odds regarding Simmons’ participation—or lack thereof—this NBA season.
“Simmons believes that the team continues to try to force him back onto the floor despite his mental health concerns and are disregarding his mental health issues,” Charania said. “But the team’s positioning has been that until there’s information otherwise from their mental health specialists, or Simmons’, that he should be expected to ramp back up for a return to the court.”
If this sounds like a hot-ass mess, that’s because it’s been exactly that ever since the 25-year-old filed for a divorce from the 76ers in the offseason. Or more specifically, ever since he shit the bed in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
In the time since, Simmons has refused to attend training camp only to eventually reappear; he’s pissed off his teammates with his “borderline disrespectful” antics; he’s been kicked out of practice; and he’s been fined so many times that I wonder if he has a paycheck left to even collect.
In response to all of this, Rich Paul recently vented to Charania and explained that the 76ers are doing much more harm than good in how they’re mishandling his client.
“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,” the Klutch Sports CEO said. “Either you help Ben, or come out and say he’s lying. Which one is it?
“This is no longer about a trade. 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,” Paul added.
If this latest fine is any indication, it’s clear that both sides have plenty to resolve before they can each move on. But throughout all of this, one thing is abundantly clear: By refusing to play, Simmons isn’t doing himself any favors to generate trade interest among other teams. At the same, mental health is nothing to play with—so I hope this isn’t all just a poorly-executed ploy to force a trade, and that Ben is prioritizing getting the treatment that he needs.