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Report: Ben Simmons, 76ers Accept 'Everyone Needs to Take Responsibility' amid Drama

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVOctober 22, 2021

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Disgruntled Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons reportedly had a breakthrough Friday in a team meeting.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Simmons spoke with head coach Doc Rivers and the entire team, including Joel Embiid, and "accepted everyone needs to take responsibility, including himself."

Charania added that Simmons told the team he isn't yet "mentally ready" to play this season and "needs time."

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Simmons is set to be evaluated by the team's medical professionals to determine his next steps.

Simmons' 76ers teammate, Tobias Harris, tweeted the following in support of Simmons on Friday:

Tobias Harris @tobias31

And we’ll respect his privacy and space during this time. When he’s ready, we will embrace our brother with love and handle our business on the court. That's it, that's all. <a href="https://t.co/eardjmQbz8">https://t.co/eardjmQbz8</a>

Wojnarowski reported last month that Simmons would not report to Sixers training camp and had no intention of playing for the organization again.

In a surprising twist, Simmons showed up two weeks ago to take a COVID-19 test and undergo a physical, and he spoke with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand for the first time since August, per ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

It seemed Simmons might be with the team to start the regular season and even play, but another turn occurred this week.

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The 76ers suspended Simmons for Wednesday's season-opening game against the New Orleans Pelicans after he refused to take part in a drill and was thrown out of practice by Rivers on Tuesday.

Charania's latest report seems to suggest Simmons has acknowledged he went about things the wrong way, although the two sides don't appear any closer to a resolution.

The 25-year-old was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, and he has enjoyed some success.

In four NBA seasons, Simmons is a three-time All-Star, and he finished second in the NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting last season.

In 275 career regular-season games, he boasts averages of 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals.

He has made just five three-pointers in his career, though, and shoots only 59.7 percent from the free-throw line.

Simmons had a rough time during the playoffs last season, averaging 11.9 points per game and shooting 34.2 percent from the charity stripe.

Despite being the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Sixers fell to the Atlanta Hawks in the second round, and Simmons became the scapegoat for the team's failures.

That was seemingly among the factors that led Simmons to want to leave Philly, but the Sixers continue to work under the idea that they are under no obligation to trade him.

Simmons is under contract for the next four seasons and cannot become a free agent until 2025, leaving him at the mercy of the organization for the foreseeable future.  

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