After a weekend of supportive messages from his teammates, Ben Simmons is back working out with the Philadelphia 76ers.
He’s also undergoing treatment for his mental health and his ailing back. TNT’s Allie LaForce cited the 76ers front office in confirming the latest on the mercurial Philadelphia point guard.
LaForce reported during the broadcast of Tuesday’s 76ers game against the New York Knicks that Simmons worked out with this teammates as recently as Tuesday morning. She also said that head coach Doc Rivers told her that Simmons “broke the ice” while speaking with his teammates on Friday, calling it “a huge moment” for the team.
“He has worked out at the facility in Camden with the team as recently as this morning,” LaForce said. “Members of the front office confirmed with me that he is receiving professional help for his mental health through the player’s union. He’s also undergoing regular treatment on his back.”
The 76ers also told LaForce that they plan to continue to pay him as long as he’s working toward getting better.
Things looked much worse last week
The tone from the 76ers is in stark contrast with the state of the relationship in recent weeks as Simmons made a rocky return from his offseason holdout. Simmons reportedly told the team this summer he wanted out of Philadelphia amid reports that the 76ers were unsuccessfully shopping him on the trade market. His holdout arrived after a tumultuous end to last season that saw Simmons’s criticized internally and externally for his play during Philadelphia’s disappointing second-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Simmons rejoined the team at practice last week amid reports that the 76ers were holding more than $8 million of his salary in escrow as they fined him $360,000 for each missed preseason game.
Media video from practice showed Simmons going through the motions during drills and declining to join his teammates in a post-session huddle. A day later, Rivers reportedly kicked Simmons out of practice, and the 76ers suspended him for the season opener.
Since then, Simmons reportedly addressed the team, telling his teammates and coaches on Friday that he’s “not mentally ready to play.” Since that meeting, teammates Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris have made public calls to support Simmons. Just last week, Embiid was ready to write Simmons off, telling reporters “I don’t care about that man.”
And now, there’s Tuesday’s reports of Simmons receiving support from the 76ers front office.
None of this gets us any closer to knowing when — or if — Simmons will suit up for the 76ers. But it sounds like things are moving in a positive direction.