NBA legend Charles Barkley has urged the 76ers to “quit screwing around” and trade Ben Simmons as Philadelphia finds itself mired in a form slump.
The 2021-22 NBA season is now a month in, and Simmons, who has requested a trade out of Philadelphia, is yet to make his return to the court due to mental health reasons.
The uncertainty surrounding Simmons’ availability couldn’t be happening at a worse time for the 76ers who lost their fifth-straight game today, going down to the Utah Jazz 120-85.
The Australian superstar yesterday was again fined by the organisation, this time for “failing to travel” with the team on their current road trip according to respected NBA insider Shams Charania.
But Barkley, a legendary 76er whose jersey has been retired by the organisation, said it’s time Philadelphia “let it go” and find a way to trade the three-time NBA All-Star as soon as possible.
“The Sixers have to quit screwing around… they have to get this Ben Simmons thing over with,” he said.
“If you have some other players to trade for Simmons the team can be competitive.
“That is going to be the elephant in the room all year and you see he got suspended because he didn’t go on the road trip.
“The marriage is over. Let it go.
“Ship him out west (conference), make the best deal and get on with your season.
“Players are tired of talking about it, I’m tired of talking about it.”
Ben Simmons’ trade saga takes a stunning new turn, the latest from the 76ers
Making matters worse for the 76ers, they’ve also been without superstar Joel Embiid who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.
While Simmons has remained out of action due to his battle with mental health issues, the 76ers are refusing to believe that’s the case “until there’s information” from his mental health specialist suggesting otherwise.
“The Philadelphia 76ers are fining Ben Simmons for failing to travel on their six-game road trip, sources tell me,” Charania revealed yesterday.
“Simmons believes that the team continues to try to force him back on the floor despite his mental health concerns.
“They’re disregarding his mental health issues, but the team’s positioning has been that until there’s information otherwise from their mental health specialist, or Simmons, that he should be expected to ramp back up for a return to the court.
“As Simmons’ agent Rich Paul told me last week, this is no longer about a trade, but Simmons receiving the help off the court that he needs. But for now, the fines and the stalemate continues.”
Simmons was first fined last month by the 76ers, in which he lost just over $11 million of his pay before it was later sent back to him following the revelations of his personal issues.
He is expected to earn close to $45 million for the 2021-22 NBA season alone.
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