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#pounditFriday, December 3, 2021

Ben Simmons using ‘mental disability’ to exploit CBA loophole?

Ben Simmons during a game

Ben Simmons has informed the Philadelphia 76ers that he is not mentally ready to play, and there has been plenty of speculation that he is using that as an excuse to avoid suiting up. It may also be part of the star point guard’s strategy to get paid.

Simmons met with Sixers head coach Doc Rivers and other members of the team on Friday morning. The talks were reportedly productive. However, Simmons still has no plans to play. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, both Simmons and Simmons’ agent Rich Paul have made it clear to the 76ers that the former first overall pick is not mentally ready to play. Simmons explained his stance to the team’s medical staff, and Wojnarowski says the 25-year-old has been offered “whatever resources are necessary to assist him.”

The 76ers have fined Simmons a total of roughly $2 million for missed games, practices and meetings. But as Woj notes, a section of the collective bargaining agreement may force the team to start paying Simmons. There’s a provision that states a player’s salary cannot be withheld for failing to render services (e.g., practice and play) “if such failure has been caused by the player’s mental disability.”

Simmons may actually have some sort of mental health issue. Although, the Sixers are reportedly not buying it. If he is faking, the approach may allow him to not only sit out but also avoid being fined.

The 76ers know they will eventually need to trade Simmons, but they’re trying to cling to the microscopic amount of leverage they might have left. There’s some reason to believe the situation will not be resolved anytime soon.

Photo: Apr 9, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons (25) gestures after a call in the first quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports


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