Sources -- 76ers' Ben Simmons changes course, meets with team-recommended mental health clinician

Sources told ESPN that Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Guard, met with a team-recommended specialist on Monday to discuss his mental well-being.
Although it is not clear what Monday's meeting means for Simmons' future hopes of a Simmons return, it was a shift in Simmons' relationships with the Sixers.

After Simmons was found to be uncooperative in partnering with them regarding his mental health, and taking the necessary steps to collaborate towards a return to play, the Sixers began to penalize Simmons. Simmons was asked by the Sixers to meet with their mental health professionals. He did so on Monday.

Sources said that the Sixers reinstated a number of penalties on Simmons last week. These included $360,000 for failing to meet with team physicians and failing to provide information about his meetings with mental-health specialists provided by the National Basketball Players Association.

Sources said that the Sixers also began fining Simmons for not participating in basketball-related requirements like strength training, film study, and other responsibilities at their practice facility in Camden. Sources said that Simmons started the season with four years of his contract remaining and $147 million. He has continued to show up at the Sixers' facility regularly for daily basketball activities with coaches and teammates.

After the Sixers' Eastern Conference semifinals defeat to Atlanta, Simmons and the Sixers began, Simmons and the Sixers have been locked in a four-plus month dispute. Simmons, 25, is asking for a trade and previously stated that he was not interested in playing for the Sixers again. Although the Sixers are open to trades, they are not close to making any and Simmons will continue to play until an agreement is reached. Officials believed that they had supported Simmons' need for mental health assistance. They took those actions because of Simmons' refusal to give basic information about his mental health treatment, evaluations, or courses. Sources said that the officials also did not accept consultations with specialists requested by the team.

The Sixers are 8-2 despite Simmons' absence this season. They have four wins without Tobias Harris, who was unable to play forward due to COVID-19. Sources said that Joel Embiid, an All-Star center, tested positive for COVID-19 Monday and will not be playing in the next few games.

Simmons was fined $2 million for refusing to return to training camp and for his limited return to the team. On Oct. 22, Simmons informed team officials and his teammates that he was not mentally ready to play for the Sixers and that he would seek professional help.

Simmons, 25, has been working with team and his own physicians to treat a back condition. Simmons and the Sixers made a new joint move regarding Simmons' mental well-being on Monday. Simmons and his representatives were unhappy with the Sixers' handling the situation after Simmons' poor performance in the Eastern Conference semifinals in June.

The Sixers have had difficulty finding a trade package that would meet their goal of getting a high-level player back. Simmons tried unsuccessfully to be allowed to play again until they could reach a deal. Daryl Morey, Philadelphia's president of basketball operations, stated that Simmons is a top-level player and they are still looking for one.