Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons met with the team on Friday, but indicated that he is not ready to join the team on the court, a person familiar with details told USA TODAY Sports.
The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about Simmons’ situation.
Simmons is not in the right mental space to play right now and will meet with medical professionals, according to ESPN.
“And we’ll respect his privacy and space during this time,” Sixers teammate Tobias Harris tweeted. “When he’s ready, we will embrace our brother with love and handle our business on the court. That’s it, that’s all.”
Disgruntled Sixers guard Ben Simmons informed the team that he isn’t mentally ready to play up to his expectations and needs time to step away,
It has been a chaotic week for Simmons and the Sixers. After a brief holdout that cost him more than $1 million, Simmons, who asked for a trade in the summer, reported to Philadelphia last week but was not engaged in practices this week.
Simmons was kicked out of practice by Sixers coach Doc Rivers on Tuesday and suspended for the team’s season-opener against New Orleans.
The Sixers play their home-opener Friday against Brooklyn, which is missing star point guard Kyrie Irving who has been sidelined by the team because he is not vaccinated.
Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has insisted he won’t trade Simmons for anything less than what he thinks can help the Sixers win a championship. In other words, Morey wants an All-Star caliber player in return, and that deal has not been available to the Sixers yet.
CIRCUS ACT: Ben Simmons’ limited engagement in return to Philadelphia is leading to a circus act
Speaking Wednesday on Philadelphia’s 97.5 FM sports talk show, Morey warned listeners to buckle in and said it may take a while to find the trade he seeks.
“If we can trade Ben for a difference maker, we will do it,” Morey said, adding, “What’s our best chance to win a championship? Right now, it’s re-integrating Ben Simmons to our team.”
If Simmons re-joins the team, the situation between Simmons and All-NBA center Joel Embiid must be resolved.
This week, Embiid told reporters players didn’t want to babysit anyone and “At this point, I don’t care about that man. He does whatever he wants. … Our chemistry has been excellent despite everything that’s been happening the last few months. Like I said, I don’t really care.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ben Simmons meets with 76ers, says he’s not mentally prepared to play