Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons still does not intend to play for the team despite reporting back to the franchise after sitting out the first two weeks of the preseason amid a trade request.
Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the news Friday.
Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Simmons arrived at the team's home arena, Wells Fargo Center, to take a COVID-19 test and begin the process of transitioning back to the team.
Simmons cleared COVID-19 protocols Friday, per Pompey, and he's scheduled to be at practice with the team Sunday.
The point guard made clear that he no longer wants to play for Philadelphia, but Wojnarowski reported on why he apparently reported back to the team:
"Why return now? Simmons is described as wanting to prove a point, and knowing he had done so with something that almost never happens in the NBA: sitting out training camp, costing himself nearly $1 million in lost salary and fines, and delivering an unmistakable message that he wanted a trade out of Philadelphia. The Sixers scoured the league but never came close to finding a deal that returned them the kind of elite player they'd want in exchange for Simmons, sources said. The trade market can shift quickly once the regular season gets underway—and more players become eligible to be moved on Dec. 15—but the Sixers have no traction on a trade now, sources said."
For now, Simmons and the 76ers appear to be in an odd limbo state, per Pompey's report, where the point guard is practicing but not playing. At any rate, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers is hopeful something can be salvaged.
"Is this a perfect situation? No, and I get that," Rivers said.
"But I’m never going to give up on a player that’s on the roster. I just can’t do that. It doesn’t matter what the player is saying. He’s on the roster, and my job is to get every player that’s on the team to believe that this team, that is together right now, can win it.
"That doesn’t matter if a player wants to be here or not, I have to get that across."
Simmons, 25, was selected No. 1 overall by the 76ers in the 2016 NBA draft. The three-time All-Star averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists for a 76ers team that finished first in the Eastern Conference standings but fell in an upset to the Atlanta Hawks in the conference semifinals.