Ben Simmons reportedly changed his COVID vaccine stance originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Amid the numerous issues surrounding the Sixers‘ Ben Simmons trade saga, which has against all logic stretched into February, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been near the top of the priority list.
Yet with the NBA trade deadline approaching and teams around the league making sure they actually have players available for playoff runs, the status of Simmons’ vaccination status – he’d reportedly been one of the few holdouts across the league as recently as mid-December – was becoming a bigger focal point.
In an article earlier this week from Bleacher Report insider Eric Pincus, a Western Conference executive admitted he had no idea what Simmons’ vaccination status was – which could in theory be a road block to a potential trade. Not great for either side!
But in a new feature story published Tuesday from ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, one of the more plugged-in NBA insiders out there, we finally have some clarification on where Simmons stands on the COVID-19 vaccine with less than 10 days until the deadline.
From Shelburne’s reporting:
“The COVID-related protocols that created an artificial boundary between Simmons and the team are no longer an issue. As an unvaccinated player, he had to take a daily COVID-19 test in order to enter the facility. But that requirement was dropped after sources say Simmons chose to get vaccinated.”
There we go. Simmons was unvaccinated when he returned to the team early in the season, but has since received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Regardless of your individual thoughts on the vaccine (recent research shows the vaccines are highly effective at preventing hospitalizations), this is good news for anyone who wants the Sixers to try and move Simmons before the deadline on Feb. 10.
There’s good reason for Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey to try and ship the disgruntled point guard out. Joel Embiid is currently playing at an MVP level, the team is just a half-game out of first place in a wide-open Eastern Conference, and with an infusion of talent a Finals run is entirely within reach.
We’ll see what the Sixers ultimately do, but this information only helps Morey’s pursuit of the right deal.