Ben Simmons to meet with 76ers brass before home opener in Philadelphia, ESPN sources

ByTrish Hartman and ESPN WPVI logo
Friday, October 22, 2021
Simmons skips workout, receives treatment for back tightness: ESPN
It is unclear whether Simmons, who was suspended by the 76ers for Wednesday's season-opener, will play Friday against the Brooklyn Nets

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons is listed as "doubtful" to play in Friday night's home opener against the Brooklyn Nets.

Simmons declined an interview with Action News Thursday morning as he left his Moorestown home.

According to ESPN, Simmons did not take part in a scheduled individual workout at the 76ers' practice facility and was briefly treated for back tightness.

Simmons' agent, Rich Paul, has told Sixers officials that Simmons isn't mentally prepared to play yet, sources said. That's a message Simmons could relay himself on Friday when he's expected to meet with Morey and senior staff officials ahead of the morning shootaround for the game on ESPN.

Action News was there as Simmons' car pulled into his driveway, returning from the practice facility in Camden. The house in Moorestown, as of this week, is on sale for $5 million.

His Center City condo at the Ritz-Carlton Residences was listed earlier this month with an asking price of $3.1 million.

Experts say this sends a message.

After a tense off-season during which he asked to be traded, the 25-year-old point guard has missed pre-season games and practices.

The Sixers have withheld his most recent quarterly salary payment of $8.25 million.

Simmons was suspended for the Sixers' victory over the New Orleans Pelicans after coach Doc Rivers threw him out of Monday's practice for failing to sub into a drill.

The Sixers had hoped to see Simmons in the workout Thursday and have him go through shootaround Friday before their game against Brooklyn, ESPN sources said.

SEE ALSO: Jason Kelce on Ben Simmons saga: 'Just play better,' then Philadelphia will 'love you'

Kelce said he has nothing personal against Simmons but called the situation "a travesty anyway you put it."

The drama brought back memories of another high-profile Philadelphia athlete who had a home in Moorestown.

Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens was kicked out of practice in 2005 in the midst of a contract dispute, famously working out in his driveway while answering questions from reporters.

Andrew Brandt, executive director for Villanova's Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law, notices parallels between the two Philadelphia coaches in these strained situations.

He describes Andy Reid and Doc Rivers as revered and calm with a group mentality.

"The reality is their responsibility is to the team collectively," said Brandt. "So when Andy kicks Terrell Owens out of practice, when Doc Rivers kicks Ben Simmons out of practice -- same thing, like this is for the team."

Simmons still has four years left on his contract.

SEE ALSO: Do 76ers have leverage? Sports contract expert weighs in on Ben Simmons saga

ESPN contributed to this report.