With 13 games already played, the 76ers still do not have Ben Simmons, a situation that does not seem likely to change anytime soon. Although the Pennsylvanians want the point guard to play again until he can be traded, he says he is not in a position to face the games, and his agent, Rich Paul, has ensured that the way the franchise is managing this problem it only makes it worse.
“I think that the fines, the targeting or the negative publicity that has been done about him have been unnecessary aspects that have worsened Ben’s mental problems,” he said in a statement to Shams Charania, a journalist from The Athletic. “Right now, either they help him or they come out and say he’s lying. Which is it going to be?”
So far, the 76ers have chosen not to force the point guard to play, but the discrepancies between the two sides are more than evident. In the franchise, they consider that the player, who has assured that he is not mentally prepared, should be part of the team, at least until mental health professionals certify that, in effect, he is not fit to play.
“In the current situation, we have to get help for Ben and not put money over his health,” Paul continued. “As an agent, I understand what your contractual obligations are and I take responsibility for those kinds of things, but when someone says something like that to you, you can’t turn your back on them. This is no longer a handover. It’s about finding a place where we can help Ben regain his mental strength and get out on the track. “
These statements by Paul do not cease to sound like an attempt to continue putting pressure on the 76ers, because, beyond their concern for the state of Simmons may be genuine, each word from one side lately seems like a dart to the other. Both the recent statements by Morey, threatening not to move Simmons and leave him without playing until the end of his contract, such as these, seem very unsubtle hints towards the other party, which only conveys the feeling that both are very far from being understood.
(Cover photo: Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)