The only way Ben Simmons will appear on a court in an NBA game is if it’s with another team — a similar stance he held over his summer of discontent.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Simmons is content with sitting out the remainder of the 2021-22 season if the Philadelphia 76ers can’t find a deal to trade him away.
Simmons is currently being fined for each game he opts to sit out after a dizzying year of drama.
After his relationship with the team deteriorated following last year’s playoff exit, Simmons demanded a trade away from Philadelphia before the start of the season. He skipped training camp and returned to team facilities right before the start of the regular season, but admitted that he was not “mentally ready to play.”
“It sounds unbelievable to think like a guy who is still getting fined for every game, for every practice, for every weight lifting session that he’s missing,” Shelburne said. “He’s OK if he goes the whole season if that’s how it goes.”
Simmons had cooperated with the Sixers, giving the team names of the mental health professionals that he’s working with. However, the dissatisfying levels of clarity stemming from Simmons being given permission to go outside the organization to find the help he needs — especially because the 76ers do not have a mental health doctor within its ranks — saw the organization return to its levying of fines.
“He does want to move on of course and restart his life and his career, but he’s been going very diligently to see, to do work with his therapist,” Shelburne added. “I think the sense is if it takes the entire season to trade him — if it takes all year for the Sixers to find a trade that’s acceptable for them — he’s prepared for that.”
The Sixers have been unable to find a suitable trade partner to end the Simmons drama. Granted, team president Daryl Morey isn’t necessarily rushing things along considering he’s unwilling to come down from his sky-high asking price for the All-Star point guard.
He is running out of time, however, as the NBA trade deadline is on Feb. 10.