'Unwilling to meet': Shock new details leaked in Ben Simmons fiasco

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·Sports Editor
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Ben Simmons, pictured here in action for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Ben Simmons in action for the Philadelphia 76ers in March. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly frustrated with Ben Simmons over his refusal to meet with team doctors over his mental health.

Simmons has reportedly worked with the Sixers' doctors to treat a back ailment, one of the reasons provided for his ongoing absence from the court.

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But the Australian star is reportedly unwilling to meet with the team's doctors to discuss his mental readiness.

According to a report from ESPN by leading writers Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski, the 76ers are growing "increasingly frustrated".

According to the report: "While Simmons has been working with team doctors to treat a back ailment, he has been unwilling to meet with team doctors to discuss his mental readiness, sources said."

Simmons told the team he wasn't mentally ready to begin the season and has been sidelined for the entirety of their 5-2 start.

But instead of working with the team's staff, Simmons has reportedly been working with mental health professionals through the NBA Players Association since the summer. 

He has reportedly yet to provide the team with any details from those meetings.

Simmons' camp apparently told ESPN they expect to update the team on the player's progress "once he is comfortable doing so."

Simmons recently made it clear he doesn't want to play for the Sixers again, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey made it quite clear that he had no plans to trade him without getting comparable value back.

The result is a player reporting to a team with seemingly little intention of playing for that team.

Players Association boss defends Ben Simmons

ESPN reports the Sixers stopped fining Simmons once he informed them he wasn't mentally ready to play on October 22.

That is likely because of a provision in the collective bargaining agreement that protects a player's salary if his inability to play is "caused by the player's mental disability."

Players Association executive director Michele Roberts defended Simmons after he said he wasn't mentally ready.

"Is it so hard to believe that Ben’s not mentally at a place to compete?" Roberts said. 

"Professional athletes - like the rest of us - have difficult periods in our lives that require time and energy to heal.

A spectator, pictured here displaying a t-shirt mocking Ben Simmons.
A spectator displays a t-shirt mocking Ben Simmons. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

"We have and will continue to provide Ben with the support and resources he needs to work through this. 

"Threatening the prospect of 'another four years' serves no one’s interests. Like Tobias [Harris], I say let’s respect Ben’s space and embrace him while allowing him the time to move forward.

"So, take a breath and count to 10: We are all too good to continue to play this perpetual game of chicken.”

Sixers fans are also growing frustrated with the fiasco, chanting Damian Lillard's name during Philly's win over Portland on Wednesday.

Lillard has been floated as a potential trade target for Simmons, and fans are clearly on board.

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