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Ben Simmons Reportedly Takes Notable Step With Sixers

A closeup of Ben Simmons.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 17: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers watches the action against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 17, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

After months of conflict between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers, the former No. 1 overall pick reportedly took a major step recently that may help lead to a resolution.

ESPN Sources: After initial reluctance, Sixers All-Star Ben Simmons has met with a team-recommended specialist to discuss mental health concerns. Among other issues, the organization had recently reinstituted fines for Simmons’ failure to agree to those meetings.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 8, 2021

">According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Simmons met with a team-recommended specialist recently to "discuss mental health concerns." The decision to do so reportedly came after the Sixers opted to institute fines for the 25-year-old after he originally failed to attend those sessions. Wojnarowski reported that Simmons plans to keep meeting with the mental health specialist provided to him by the Player's Association and working out at the team's practice facility in the coming weeks. However, there remains no return timeline for the three-time All-Star to make his 2021-22 season debut.

Simmons' willingness to meet with the Sixers-recommend specialist comes just four days after the organization re-implemented fines on the point guard for missing games. The 25-year-old was docked $360,000 for missing last Thursday's victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Although he wasn't attending the sessions recommend by the 76ers, Simmons was reportedly meeting with other mental health professionals. According to Stadium's Shams Charnia, he provided the organization with the names of those individuals, but did not give further details when the team requested them, citing patient confidentiality.

The debate over Simmons' mental health care is just the latest in what's been a saga between the All-Star point guard and the Sixers. Simmons has told the leadership in Philadelphia that he is not mentally ready to play, but the 76ers refuse to trade him with his current value as low as it is.

That gives the 25-year-old point guard very little room to do anything, except return to the team when he is feeling mentally ready.

To add another wrinkle to the mix, the Sixers have raced out to an 8-2 record without Simmons on the floor. All-NBA center Joel Embiid has gotten off to a solid start, but players like Seth Curry, Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey and Furkan Korkmaz have stepped up in a major way without another All-Star in the mix.

Simmons should make that group better, but can only do so if he rejoins the team fully.