The standoff between the Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons continues, with twists and turns on a near-daily basis. Earlier in November, Philadelphia began fining Simmons again for not meeting with the team’s physicians and for other basketball-related reasons. Then, on Thursday, the next chapter began with statements from Simmons’ agent and Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul on Thursday, with Paul sharing with Shams Charania of The Athletic that he believes the Sixers are making things worse for Simmons.
“I truly believe the fines, the targeting, the negative publicity shined on the issue — that’s very unnecessary and has furthered the mental health issues for Ben,” Paul told The Athletic. “Either you help Ben, or come out and say he’s lying. Which one is it?”
While Paul has a clear point of view in representing Simmons, it is certainly notable that he would go as far as to say that the conduct of the team “has furthered the mental health issues” for Simmons. That wasn’t all that Paul said, either, as he continued to share the point of view of the Simmons side, including the assertion that the financial and contractual side should not overtake the mental health of Simmons.
“In this case, we have to get Ben help and not put finances above mental health,” Paul said. “As an agent, I understand contractual obligations and I hold myself accountable in this business. But if someone is telling you something, we can no longer turn a blind eye in today’s world.”
Paul concluded by saying that the situation is “no longer about a trade” and rather that the goal is finding somewhere for Simmons to “get back to his mental strength and get back on the floor.” At this stage, it is unclear what the next step will be on either side, but it doesn’t seem that a resolution, or even a peace accord, will be arriving anytime soon.