According to reports, the small forward who was shipped to the Brooklyn Nets for point guard James Harden in a major trade on February 10th is planning to file a grievance against his former team on the eve of the squads’ first matchup since the trade.
Simmons will not play in the highly anticipated game on Thursday (March 10) at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, but he will be on the sidelines with the team. The core issue that has been speculated to be the fuel for the grievance filing lies in Simmons’ desire to recoup the money that was withheld from him as he sat out the beginning of the 2021 NBA season after previously requesting a trade, later citing mental health struggles as a cause of frustration with the team as play began.
His agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, at the time stated that the Sixers’ handling of the situation through fining the 25-year old added to the situation. “I truly believe the fines, the targeting, the negative publicity shined on the issue — that’s very unnecessary and has furthered the mental health issues for Ben,” he said in an interview last November with The Athletic. The Sixers franchise has never refuted Simmons’ claims of mental health struggles, and made accommodations for him to return to the team including center Joel Embiid’s plea to the crowd before the season-opening game at home against the Brooklyn Nets to support “our brother”. Another element, according to reporting from Kyle Neubeck of the PhillyVoice, states that Simmons and his team would encounter difficulties because of the league rules and those of the National Basketball Association players union.
Reports have also surfaced that there is to be an increased security presence at the game, but apparently, it is simply a “playoff-level crew” taking into account the increase in media and a larger celebrity presence. When asked about the potential situation of increased fan heckling at the game, Simmons’ teammate Kevin Durant brushed it off: “I’m sure there’s going to be some personal attacks. Some people don’t even enjoy basketball, their lives are so sh**** that they get to just aim it at other people…Ben understands that. I’m sure some stuff may even be funny”
The Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers are set to play on Thursday, March 10th at 7:30 P.M.