Progress towards a reunion between Australian star Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers has continued with a meeting between the All-Star and the franchise’s decision-makers.
ESPN has reported that Simmons passed his entry physical but his immediate future and long-term status with the 76ers remains cloudy due to his demand for a trade and “surprise” decision to report to the team on Monday.
Simmons met with team president Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand in what was described as a “brief” meeting on Tuesday night, the report said.
Simmons is in the NBA’s health and safety protocol and took his initial COVID-19 test on Monday, when he arrived at the arena before the Brooklyn Nets played the 76ers in a preseason game.
Sixers’ head coach Doc Rivers reportedly met twice with Simmons on Tuesday and is not against the idea of him playing immediately.
Simmons, 25, could return by Friday, when the 76ers play the Detroit Pistons. Whether the team will permit Rivers to play him without measuring his fitness in practices is uncertain.
Simmons’ trade demand, according to reports, still stands.
But Rivers said he expects Simmons to be welcomed back when he’s ready to play.
“Players don’t get involved with people’s business,” Rivers said.
“I’ve been a player and this has happened before, and I was a player that has done it before.
“Other than those first 10 minutes of welcoming back and taking the crap from your teammates about missing camp and stuff, guys want to win. They do. I’m telling you, especially if you’re on that type of team where you have a chance to win … they look at Ben as a guy that can help them do that.”
Fellow All-Star Joel Embiid has been transparent with his emotions during Simmons’ time away, saying last week that his teammate’s hold-out was “borderline disrespectful” to the players who reported to training camp and preseason.
Embiid also helped spark the drama with comments immediately after the 76ers were eliminated from the last season’s playoffs.
Monday’s unexpected appearance as no-show fines for Simmons hit $US1 million ($A1.4 million).
“I think there’s going to be some adjustments, but it doesn’t need to be awkward,” Embiid said of Simmons rejoining the roster and ending a contentious holdout.
“We’re all professionals. We want to win. He gives me the best chance to win. … We’re going to be fine.”