By Jerry Wein

ESPN’s Woj reports that the Sixers have fined Ben Simmons his $360,000 game salary for missing Thursday night’s victory over the Detroit Pistons and plans to continue fining him until he cooperates with team physicians on his mental health and fulfills other basketball-related obligations.

The Sixers will again place Simmons’ future salary into an escrow account, sources said. Earlier this season, Philadelphia released Simmons’ money from escrow after he had been initially cooperative on a path toward returning to play.

For the Sixers and Simmons, this is the latest salvo in an increasingly antagonistic four-month standoff. Simmons — with four years and $147 million left on his contract — has requested a trade and has expressed no desire to rejoin the team.

Despite Simmons’ absence — and with three victories without starting forward Tobias Harris because of COVID-19 — the Sixers are 7-2 and owners of the best record in the Eastern Conference.

After Simmons incurred $2 million in penalties for a training camp holdout and limited return to the team, Philadelphia stopped fining him two weeks ago when he told team officials and teammates that he wasn’t mentally prepared to play and planned to seek professional assistance.

In that time, Simmons, 25, has worked cooperatively with his own and team physicians on a back ailment but has told the Sixers repeatedly that he is unwilling to share information on his course of action in pursuing mental health treatment, sources said.

Simmons and his representatives have been unhappy with Philadelphia’s handling of the situation since public criticism leveled at the guard in the wake of his poor Eastern Conference semifinals performance in June.

The Sixers have struggled to find a trade package that meets their asking price and tried unsuccessfully to persuade Simmons to return to play until a deal can be found. Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has said that the Sixers want a high-level player in return for Simmons, and that hasn’t been available yet in months of trade discussions.

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