Australian NBA star Ben Simmons has again been fined by the Philadelphia 76ers, this time for reportedly “failing to travel” with the team on their current road trip.
The 2021-22 NBA season is now a month in, and Simmons, who has requested a trade out of Philadelphia, is yet to make his return to the court due to mental health reasons.
Simmons was first fined last month by the organisation, in which he lost just over $11 million of his pay before it was later sent back to him following the revelations of his personal issues.
It’s been widely reported that the 76ers have grown frustrated with Simmons’ inability to work with them regarding his mental health issues, and now it appears it’s reached the breaking point.
Respected NBA insider Shams Charania revealed that Simmons was fined again and that the 76ers are expecting him to return to the court “until there’s information” from his mental health specialist suggesting otherwise.
“The Philadelphia 76ers are fining Ben Simmons for failing to travel on their six-game road trip sources tell me,” Charania said in a video posted to Twitter.
“Simmons believes that the team continues to try to force him back on the floor despite his mental health concerns.
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“They’re disregarding his mental health issues, but the team’s positioning has been that until there’s information otherwise from their mental health specialist, or Simmons, that he should be expected to ramp back up for a return to the court.
“As Simmons’ agent Rich Paul told me last week, this is no longer about a trad, but Simmons receiving the help off the court that he needs. But for now, the fines and the stalemate continues.”
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The three-time NBA All-Star is expected to earn close to $45 million for the 2021-22 NBA season alone.
Simmons’ high-profile player agent last week came out in support of the Australian superstar.
Rich Paul, who also represents Lakers superstar LeBron James, urged the 76ers to support Simmons and not go down the narrative of suggesting that the Australian’s mental health issues aren’t legitimate.
“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,” Paul told The Athletic.
“Either you help Ben, or come out and say he’s lying. Which one is it?”
If you or anyone you know needs immediate support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or via lifeline.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.