PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s been an eventful start to the NBA season for the Philadelphia 76ers as drama continues to unfold surrounding Ben Simmons. Simmons met with head coach Doc Rivers and his teammates on Friday morning and told them he is not mentally ready to play with the team, reports say.
Sources tell The Athletic’s Shams Charania that Simmons reported to the team’s shootaround on Friday morning and has expressed he wants to play but isn’t mentally prepared.READ MORE: First Confirmed Case Of COVID-19 Omicron Variant Reported In Philadelphia, New Jersey
The source tells Shams that Simmons spoke with Doc Rivers, Joel Embiid and the entire team Friday and accepted that everyone needs to take responsibility, including himself. But he informed Rivers and his teammates that he isn’t mentally ready to play yet and needs time.
Simmons reported to shootaround today ahead of Nets game and was seen engaged around the team, sources said. The three-time All-Star has expressed he wants to play but isn't prepared mentally. https://t.co/DUuPfGch2s
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 22, 2021
A source tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Simmons told the team he is “not mentally ready to play to his expectations now.” The source adds that Simmons will have to be evaluated and what happens next will depend on what the medical professionals say.
Simmons has to be evaluated now and next steps will be based upon the determination of medical professionals, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/OTZ9PQU9bN
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 22, 2021
Simmons’ teammate Tobias Harris says when Ben is ready, they will welcome him back and get to work on the court.
“And we’ll respect his privacy and space during this time. When he’s ready, we will embrace our brother with love and handle our business on the court. That’s it, that’s all,” Harris tweeted.
And we’ll respect his privacy and space during this time. When he’s ready, we will embrace our brother with love and handle our business on the court. That's it, that's all. https://t.co/eardjmQbz8
— Tobias Harris (@tobias31) October 22, 2021
Shams reported Thursday that Simmons was expected to miss “an undetermined period of time” due to not being mentally ready to play.
Sixers brass Daryl Morey left a clear message for Simmons and his camp on The Mike Missanelli radio show on Thursday.READ MORE: Family Of Fallen Delaware County Firefighter Has Mortgage Fully Paid Off
“You’re gonna think I’m kidding, I’m not. This could be four years,” Morey said. “Unless Ben Simmons is traded for a difference-maker, we are in the prime of Joel’s career, we have to get back either Ben Simmons playing well for us, that will help us win the championship, or we have to get back a difference-maker for Ben Simmons.”
Simmons has been fined more than $2 million for missing games, practices and meetings so far.
Eagles’ Jason Kelce recently broke down what it takes to make it as an athlete in Philadelphia. The key to success? Holding yourself accountable.
Kelce says a lack of accountability is the reason for the broken relationship between Simmons and the Sixers.
“What’s going on, and I don’t want to crush any other player. What’s going on with the 76ers and Ben Simmons. All that is because of a lack of accountability. A lack of owning up to mistakes and lack of correcting things. If all that got corrected, you’re fixing three throws, you’re getting better as a player, none of this is happening. So everybody can [explicit] and complain about how tough this city is to play in, just play better man. This city will love you,” Kelce said.
The Sixers host the Brooklyn Nets at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night at 7 p.m. and fans were not shy when talking about Simmons missing the game.MORE NEWS: Mother Of Ahmir Jones, Teen Killed Protecting Girlfriend During Robbery Near Temple University, Speaks Out
“At the end of the day, you still have a commitment. You signed a contract. You’re a man. Stand up and do what you’re supposed to do,” Theresa Harrigan said.