The Philadelphia 76ers are no longer fining Ben Simmons for missed games and practices, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. Simmons had reportedly accumulated roughly $2 million in fines during his holdout from the team, but according to Shelburne, the 76ers are offering whatever resources Simmons needs in order to improve his mental health. Simmons reportedly told the team last week that he was not mentally prepared to return to the team.
Simmons spent the offseason trying to force the 76ers to trade him, but no deal materialized. Daryl Morey, Philadelphia's president of basketball operations, has made it clear that he would trade Simmons only for a "difference-maker" and that this uncomfortable situation could last the entire four-year duration of Simmons' contract. Morey joined Sixers Pregame Live on Sunday and indicated that he believes things are moving in the right direction.
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"Ben came in at the end of last week and said he had back stiffness and he's dealing with some personal reasons off the court. Both we take very seriously, we're working with Ben to provide every resource to help him with what is needed," Morey said. "He spoke to his teammates, things seem to be moving very much in a positive direction. We're going to provide all the resources, give Ben what he needs, and get him out there as soon as we can."
Philadelphia suspended Simmons for refusing to participate in a defensive drill on opening night, but his meeting with the team came after that. For now, no trade appears imminent. The sort of difference-making players Morey seemingly seeks such as Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard are not available, and until that changes, Simmons is likely to remain in Philadelphia. When exactly he'll return to the floor, though, remains unclear.