With the trade deadline only a week and some change away, the Philadelphia 76ers still have Ben Simmons on their roster. With no trade in sight, this has cost the Australian guard to pay $19 million dollars in fines in just over three months into the NBA season. If he sits out the rest of the season, he will lose $32 million dollars.
During the 76ers playoff series last year against the Atlanta Hawks, we saw Ben Simmons refuse to take a wide open dunk and struggle immensely with free throws. After the series Rivers gave what turned out to be a crucial soundbite afterwards, and many people (including Simmons) perceived this as criticism of Ben.
It has been reported and verified that Ben Simmons ignored calls and texts from Doc Rivers, but still wanted more support from Doc. ESPN reporter Ramona Shelburne revealed Simmons’ position on Doc’s attempts to reconcile in a recent article:
“He’s frustrated that Rivers didn’t come to see him while he was training in Los Angeles last summer. Simmons doesn’t dispute that he didn’t reply when Rivers texted and called him several times over the summer asking to see him. But in hindsight, Simmons feels Rivers and the Sixers could’ve done more, like show up at a well-known gym in the San Fernando Valley where he was training.”Ramona Shelburne, ESPN
Coach Doc Rivers responded to the Shelburne reports in a recent interview:
“…I always have supported Ben,” Rivers said. “I want him to do well. It’s just the excuses and all that stuff. One of the things I tell all my players is that respect is a two-way street, especially these young guys. You can’t expect to ignore us or not listen and then want us to do something different to you. You have to respect each other to be successful in life.”Bucks County Courier Times
While myself and virtually everyone else in the NBA fan community denounced Ben Simmons, Coach Doc Rivers came to his defense on numerous occasions. When we all wrote Simmons’ future with the Sixers off as impossible, Doc was still cheering him on. I guess everybody has their limits, and it seems as though Rivers has now found his.
I wish I had a crystal ball to see how this is going to play out. It has been reported that if he is not traded by the deadline, Simmons will meet with the 76ers brass. Although it seems impossible that we’ll ever see Ben Simmons in a Sixers uniform again, crazier things have happened in the wild, dramatic world that is the NBA.