Sources tell Wojnarowski that the team intends to continue fining Simmons until he cooperates with team doctors on his mental health issues and resumes participating in other “basketball-related obligations.”
The Sixers originally put an advance payment for Simmons into escrow and fined him for missing games, practices, and other obligations during the preseason when he didn’t report to camp. After fining Simmons approximately $2MM for his failure to render services, Philadelphia decided to halt those penalties and remove his money from escrow when the 25-year-old told the club that he wasn’t mentally ready to play.
However, the team has reportedly been frustrated by Simmons’ unwillingness to accept off-court resources from the team or to provide any updates on his work with mental health professionals. According to Wojnarowski, 76ers officials believe they’ve been supportive of Simmons’ stated need for mental health assistance and believe they have no choice but to place his future salary back into escrow and continue fining him due to his refusal to share even basic details of his treatment.
The Sixers will also resume fining Simmons for a failure to participate in activities such as strength training, film study, and shootarounds, sources tell ESPN. Simmons has been present at the team’s facility to do some individual work and to have a back ailment treated, but hasn’t been taking part in any team activities.
Simmons had been set to receive the first of 12 upcoming pay checks starting on November 15, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).
There’s a provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that protects players’ salaries in the event they’re unable to render services “if such failure has been caused by the player’s mental disability.” As such, Simmons’ camp will likely fight back against the new fines he’s facing. If the two sides can’t reach an amicable agreement, it’s possible they’ll have to eventually take the matter to an arbitration hearing.
Despite having to deal with the Simmons drama and a handful of health issues, including Joel Embiid battling knee soreness and Tobias Harris testing positive for COVID-19, the 76ers are off to a strong start this season. They have a 7-2 record so far.