Australian NBA star Ben Simmons will have to wait until Saturday (AEDT) at the earliest until he can potentially participate in team-related activities with the Philadelphia 76ers due to the NBA’s vaccination protocols.
Simmons has been at the centre of an ugly trade saga with the 76ers, and while he initially refused to show up to pre-season training camp as part of his bid to leave Philadelphia, he shocked the franchise yesterday by showing up to their home arena to take a COVID-19 test.
While it’s understood Simmons is still pushing for a trade, it’s since been revealed that he held a meeting with the team’s front office today, and also passed a physical according to ESPN’s NBA reporter Ramona Shelburne.
But as it stands, Simmons’ duties on the basketball court will be delayed for several days due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
The 76ers are scheduled to face the Pistons on Saturday (AEDT), but according to the ESPN report, there’s no indication that Simmons will be cleared in time to play.
Under the NBA’s COVID-19 regulations, a fully vaccinated player who is entering a team environment for the first time must return at least one negative result before they can interact with teammates and Tier 1 club staffers.
Problem with Simmons’ 76ers snub
An unvaccinated player has to return two negative tests before they can participate in individual workouts, where no other player is present.
The unvaccinated player would then need to return two more negative tests before they can interact with teammates and the rest of the organisation’s staff.
Ever since the 76ers bowed out during last year’s playoff series, Simmons, who was heavily criticised for his side’s unsuccessful series against the Atlanta Hawks, has been pushing for a trade.
With $203 million and four years left on his contract, the 76ers last month withheld an $11 million payment owed to Simmons due to his contract standoff and refusal to show to pre-season training.
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