Reports out of Philly suggested that Sixers disgruntled star Ben Simmons has been distant and disinterested during the week leading up to the Sixers season opener on Wednesday night.
To paraphrase Marshawn Lynch, Simmons is only there so he doesn’t get fined.
During Monday’s practice, Simmons barely participated, shooting in a sweatshirt with his phone in his pocket.
Ben Simmons practicing in sweatpants with his phone in his pocket. pic.twitter.com/MEdQLxudcK
— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) October 18, 2021
As practice ended the team gathered in a huddle, while Simmons made a beeline straight for the showers. Tuesday was no different as pertains to Simmons’ actions. The atmosphere got even more toxic. Doc called him a distraction for being physically and mentally disengaged and threw Simmons out of practice in disgust. The Sixers announced a subsequent one-game suspension levied upon Simmons for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
Sixers center Joel Embiid had some strong words concerning how the team was handling the Simmons fiasco.
Joel Embiid on Ben Simmons getting kicked out of practice and suspended one game: "Our job is not to babysit somebody."
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) October 19, 2021
Strong Arm Tactics
All summer Ben Simmons wanted out of Philly, and the Sixers were willing to oblige him if they could secure a big haul. No team in the league at the moment is willing to part with so much for a very good player with some major deficiencies and a questionable work ethic.
The way Simmons is going about getting traded doesn’t make him more marketable, that’s for sure. The strong-arm tactic has been used in the past. Harden purposely played like cow dung to force his way out of Houston. AD didn’t play at all in the weeks leading up to his forced trade to L.A. Safe to say those guys are transcending players who have a lot more leverage and demand on the open market than Simmons, who is paid like a boss player but isn’t.
Back in June, Simmons only scored five points in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals and passed up a layup that prompted criticism from Joel Embiid and coach Doc Rivers. That was the beginning of the end of any future Simmons might have with the Sixers.
Trade Me Or Deal With My Sh*t
Simmons and his agent Rich Paul, have tried to get him moved since then but to no avail. Simmons doesn’t want to deal with the challenges of playing in Philly or the wrath of his teammates and front office. In all honesty, all parties involved could use the move.
Simmons reported to the team last week after holding out all of training camp and refusing calls and meetings with anyone associated with the organization. Paul did meet with Rivers and team president Daryl Morey at his home in Los Angeles, where things reportedly got tense between Rivers and Paul, with Doc shouting, “It’s in his “BLEEPING” contract” [to report to camp].
Hurt Feelings, Damaged Ego
Doc Rivers delivered a death blow to Simmons’ ego when asked if he thought Simmons could be the point guard on a championship-winning team or not?
“I don’t know the answer to that right now,” was Doc’s candid response.
Simmons felt Doc should’ve been reprimanded for those comments, which he never was.
At this point, the relationship is permanently damaged. Same as when Kawhi Leonard wanted out in San Antonio. The Sixers may have to come down off their asking price of an All-Star-level player and control of four future first-round picks via trade or pick swaps. That’s an enormous amount of capital for a guy unwilling to take a jump shot outside of 5-7 feet.
Stay tuned for the Ben Simmons fiasco, because both parties raised the stakes today and it’s just heating up.