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Ben Simmons, 76ers settle arbitration on holdout fines

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Brooklyn Nets v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Ben Simmons and the 76ers have settled their arbitration on how much the team should return Simmons for holding out last season. Adrian Wojnarowski was first with the news...

The terms of settlement will remain confidential.

The settlement leaves open the question of under what conditions a player can cite mental health issues in refusing to play. After initially showing up from camp, Simmons declined to practice, first citing a bad back, then mental health issues. The Sixers fined their three-time All-Star more than $19 million in fines for missing games through the trade deadline. The fines stopped in early February when the Nets swapped James Harden and Paul Millsap for him, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first round draft picks.

Simmons and the National Basketball Players Association, the players’ union, filed a grievance against the Sixers in April following failed attempts at a settlement, sources told Woj. The case was in the hands of an arbitrator when the settlement was reached.

One key point of discussion was how much access that the team and its doctors could have to Simmons mental health issues. Simmons worked with his own therapist, not the Sixers’.

There was a lot of speculation about Simmons having issues with Sixers fans, his head coach, Doc Rivers, and superstar teammate Joel Embiid following Philly’s loss to the Hawks in the 2021 Eastern Conference semi-finals. After the Game 7 loss, Rivers declined to answer whether he thought Simmons was a championship point guard and Embiid blamed the Game 7 loss on Embiid’s failure to hit a critical free throw, calling it the turning point of the game. Simmons told his first press conference with the Nets that his issues were not related to the comments or the animosity of Philly fans.

Meanwhile, Stephen A. Smith said he ran into Simmons while on vacation and reports, “He’s ready to go,” Smith said Monday morning on ESPN’s First Take. “He swears he’s ready to go.”