Reports: Ben Simmons agrees to meet Sixers-approved specialist, but could Celtics trade be on horizon?

·3-min read

The Ben Simmons drama in Philly is ramping back up again. 

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers are butting heads on how Simmons is communicating his mental health progress to the team. 

The Sixers had been "testing the validity of Simmons’ pursuit of mental health assistance," since he reportedly didn't give the team updates on his progress, but now Simmons has agreed to meet with a team-recommended specialist to discuss mental health concerns, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Charania also reported that Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has had conversations with the Boston Celtics about a Simmons trade, and a big name has already come up: Jaylen Brown.

Simmons, Sixers not on same page about treatment

The biggest issue between Simmons and the Sixers has been communication, and that continues to be the problem. According to Charania, Simmons didn't, and possibly still doesn't, feel comfortable working with any of the mental health professionals on the Sixers' staff, so he was seeking help from the outside, which he's allowed to do. 

The Sixers were reportedly looking for information on Simmons' progress, and he reportedly gave them the names of the people he's working with, but that was all. And his doctors weren't able to give any information to the Sixers without Simmons' express permission, which he reportedly didn't give. 

Via The Athletic:

The 76ers feel they should be given more details about Simmons’ treatment plans, process and return timeframe. Team officials say they have sought a good faith effort from Simmons to help understand his return to action process, not the specifics of his mental health guidance, but claim that has not happened. Simmons, meanwhile, is not obligated to share details of his work with mental wellness professionals.

Jun 20, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons warms up before game seven of the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
The relationship between Ben Simmons and the 76ers is still badly broken, according to The Athletic. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

The crux of the situation appears to be what information the Sixers want, and what Simmons is willing to share. Simmons was only obligated to share the names of who he's working with. The Sixers reportedly just wanted clarity and feedback from Simmons about his return-to-play process, and didn't ask him for any details about his actual sessions or conversations with mental health professionals. 

The Sixers stopped fining Simmons after he told the team he wasn't mentally ready to play. However, they fined him after missing last week's game against the Detroit Pistons, but they may stop again now that Simmons is meeting with a team-approved specialist.

Celtics enter the picture

Things have been quiet on the Simmons trade front for awhile, but they're spurting back to life. Charania reported that the Celtics have been discussing with Morey a possible trade for Simmons, but talks are currently "fluid" and nothing has really happened yet. 

Despite that, one big name has already come up: Jaylen Brown. According to Charania, any deal for Simmons would have to include Brown, who made his first All-Star team last season. 

It seems pretty farfetched that the Celtics would give up one of their great young talents in exchange for Simmons, but that appears to be Morey's MO: He asks for a massive, unrealistic return for Simmons, and the team he's talking to walks away while doubled over in laughter. Some version of that reportedly happened with the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors during the offseason. Since the reported talks between the Celtics and Sixers haven't gone anywhere, we can't add the Celtics to that list just yet. 

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