The ongoing saga between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers has dragged on longer than anyone could have expected it would.
Simmons is still deeply angry over the fact that his head coach Doc Rivers and teammate Joel Embiid threw him under the bus following last year’s disastrous playoff run. He refuses to return to the squad until he is traded – regardless of how much money it costs him.
The Sixers, meanwhile, are unwilling to deal him for anything less than the stated asking price.
This week, in a conversation with the Bucks County Courier Times, Rivers delivered a strong message to his disgruntled superstar.
“There’s nobody that’s been more supportive than me,” he said. “I have a tape someone sent me of almost an hour of me over and over (praising Simmons). You heard me last year every day.
“It’s all posturing. That’s why you haven’t heard me – I don’t get involved in all that stuff. I’ll leave that up to the front office and Ben’s camp. I’m staying out of that part. But, listen, some of this stuff I laugh at and I feel bad. I think Ben’s a good kid. I want Ben to do well.”
Additionally, Rivers doesn’t appear to be overly-apologetic about the blunt honesty that led to Simmons hating him to begin with.
“We need people to tell us the truth,” Rivers said.
“Unfortunately as a coach in the NBA, I have to do it a lot. I’ve accepted it as a coach over the years. Some handle it well (and) some don’t. Sometimes I don’t deliver it well, even though I try. I’m not perfect, either.
“At the end of the day, everything I try to do is about winning. The people who can handle that, can handle me very well. The people that can’t, probably don’t handle me well. And I don’t lose an ounce of sleep over it.”
This entire process has gone terribly for all parties involved – both player and team.
One rival squad has gotten so weary of all the nonsense that it officially removed itself from the running for Simmons’ services, despite having genuine interest in him. That’s how annoying this saga has been. And they probably won’t be the last team to take that sort of firm position.
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By all accounts, the Sixers have a new plan when it comes to handling Simmons. Time will tell if they’ll do better with this approach than their prior one. Simmons, in the meantime, has two teams he’d prefer to land with, but his desires aren’t a huge priority for anyone.
For better or worse, it doesn’t appear a resolution is approaching any time soon.
Get used to Simmons as a non-participating member of the 76ers, because the smart money is on him remaining that for the foreseeable future.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.