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Ben Simmons Returns To 76ers Training



Ben Simmons is finally working out with the Philadelphia 76ers again on the back of several supportive messages from his teammates.

Sixers star Joel Embiid had previously dismissed the Australian guard with claims that he does not “care about that man.” However, with Simmons having revealed his struggles with mental health issues, Embiid’s stance has changed, at least publicly.

The team isn’t off to a great start and Pennsylvania sports betting folks can probably take advantage of the odds on offer with a view to things improving in the race for the East at the end of the season. Philly is clearly worse off without Simmons in the mix, despite his shooting woes, and will hope to have him back as soon as possible.

The All-Star point guard is also getting treatment for his mental health issues, as well as a bad back. According to TNT’s Allie LaForce, Simmons worked out with teammates on Tuesday morning, with head coach Doc Rivers stating he “broke the ice” in conversation with his teammates last Friday, marking a “huge moment” for the squad.

“He has worked out at the facility in Camden with the team as recently as this morning,” LaForce reported. “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 team told LaForce they will continue to pay Simmons as long as he works to get better.

This is quite the change from last week, when it appeared downhill was the only direction where the Simmons saga is concerned. The guard informed the 76ers he wanted to be traded during the offseason but they were unsuccessful in stopping him. He stayed away from training camp and the preseason despite the threat of hefty fines but returned to the team due to the financial ramifications. The team was reportedly holding $8 million of his salary in escrow and fined him $360,000 for every missed preseason game – he missed all four of those.

His return wasn’t nearly a solution as he showed no desire to practice and was sent home during a training session after refusing to participate in a drill.

Simmons spoke to the team last week, revealing he is not mentally ready to compete. Teammates Embiid and Tobias Harris have since asked fans to support the guard.

There’s still little clarity over when Simmons might actually play for Philadelphia but things are moving in the right direction on that front.

Team GM Daryl Morey had also taken a strong stance against Simmons, having asked fans to buckle in as the holdout could last the entirety of the player’s four-year contract.

“You’re gonna think I’m kidding, I’m not: This could be four years,” Morey was quoted as saying. “The conditions that I’m pointing out to you don’t change. Unless Ben Simmons is traded for a difference-maker, we’re in the prime of Joel’s career. We have to get back either Ben Simmons playing well for us, who helps us win the championship, or we have to get back a difference-maker for Ben Simmons. Or this could be four years from now and we’re still like, ‘Hey, we took the best shot at it we could.’”

Morey also posed a question to Sixers fans as it pertains to their title chances.

“I would ask the question to 76ers fans: Would you rather eliminate what people perceive to be a distraction — I don’t — or would you rather have worse playoff odds, like, I think, a worse chance to win the title? I’m focused on winning the title,” he said. “I’ll go through mud, muck, over barbed wire. We all will: Doc Rivers, Joel Embiid, Tobias (Harris), we will go through whatever it takes, whatever process, whatever pain, whatever hill we have to climb, whatever thing we have to deal with that helps the 76ers win the title, we’re gonna do it. And what we’re doing right now gives us the best chance to win the title. The alternatives do not.”

Things have taken a more positive turn this week but fans should not fool themselves. Ben Simmons does not want to play for Philadelphia, yet it would do him no good to continue with his indifference as it’s going to affect his bottom line. His softened stance has already gotten the team to agree to continue paying him and it’s possible that he does not play a single game for the team before he is shipped off somewhere else.

If it was difficult to shop him in the summer, it will be a whole lot more now as teams will question whether they can trust a player who simply packs it up when things don’t go his way.

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