Ben Simmons has been suspended by the Philadelphia 76ers for one game due to conduct detrimental to the team. Simmons will miss the 76ers’ season opener on Wednesday night at New Orleans.
The guard was a holdout in training camp in the wake of his offseason trade demand. He reported last week and practiced Sunday and Monday with the Sixers. He was scheduled to practice and talk to the media on Tuesday but ESPN reported that Sixers coach Doc Rivers threw him out after he refused to participate in the final part of the session.
“I just thought he was a distraction today,” coach Doc Rivers said after practice. “I didn’t think he wanted to do what everybody else was doing. It was early. It wasn’t a big deal. I just told him he should leave. We went on with practice.”
Simmons lingered outside the huddle, dribbled a basketball and looked uninterested during a team huddle at Monday’s practice, where he did not practice with the first team. Sources told ESPN that Simmons has failed to engage with the team since returning to the Sixers after his holdout.
Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid said on Tuesday it isn’t his job to “babysit” Simmons. “At this point, I don’t care about that man,” Embiid said. “He does whatever he wants.”
The 25-year-old from Australia had four years and $147m left on his contract when he decided he wanted a trade.
“Every day, every single moment, I’m going to give Ben a chance to join the team and be part of the team,” Rivers said. “He’s under contract to be part of the team and that’s not going to change. Sometimes it happens quick and guys join back in. Sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve been in both situations and I’m fine with that.”
The three-time All-Star averaged 14.3 points, 6.9 assists and 7.2 rebounds in 58 games last season. He averaged just 11.9 points in the playoffs while shooting a dismal 34.2% from the free-throw line.