Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
76ers suspend Simmons; Embiid says 'I don't care about that man, honestly'
top story

76ers suspend Simmons; Embiid says 'I don't care about that man, honestly'

76ers Simmons Basketball

Ben Simmons at a 76ers practice Monday in Camden. On Tuesday, coach Doc Rivers threw Simmons out of practice, and the team suspended the three-time All-Star for conduct detrimental to the team.

Ben Simmons created months of controversy when he passed up a dunk during Game 7 of last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals.

It turns out that was nothing.

Simmons’ feud with the Philadelphia 76ers escalated Tuesday at the team’s Camden facility when coach Doc Rivers threw Simmons out of practice for being a “distraction.” The team then suspended Simmons for conduct detrimental to the team, meaning he will miss Wednesday night’s season opener in New Orleans against the Pelicans.

All this came on the day Simmons was set to speak to the media at the team’s Camden training facility.

“I just thought he was a distraction,” Rivers said to reporters after practice. “He didn’t want to do what everybody else was doing. It was early, and it wasn’t a big deal. I just told him he should leave then, and we went on with practice.”

Sixers center Joel Embiid reacted to the situation with stronger words, saying it wasn’t his or any player’s job “to babysit” Simmons.

“At this point, I don’t care about that man, honestly,” Embiid said. “He does whatever he wants. I’m only focused on what we’ve been doing. As a team, we’re going to be fine.””

Support Local Journalism

Your subscription makes our reporting possible.

Simmons’ dispute with the team began to head toward the point of no return after that Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the conference semifinals. In the closing minutes, Simmons passed up an open dunk to pass to Matisse Thybulle, who was fouled on his shot attempt and made one of two free throws. The play symbolized Simmons’ passive playoff performance.

Rivers declined to specify exactly why he threw Simmons out of practice. But Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Simmons early in practice declined several times to participate in a drill. Wojnarowski also said Simmons has been physically and mentally reluctant to engage with the 76ers since he rejoined the team last week.

Wojnarowski said Philadelphia has fined Simmons $1.4 million for missing preseason games, workouts and practices.

Simmons still has four years left on a five-year contract that pays him a total of $169.65 million. Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey said Simmons and his representatives asked for a trade shortly after the playoff loss to the Hawks. The Sixers finished 49-23 during the regular season and were the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Simmons is a three-time All Star and a two-time member of the NBA All- Defensive Team. But he shot 34% (25 for 73) from the foul line during the postseason. Simmons went 3 for 3 from the floor in the fourth quarters of the seven Atlanta games. He did not take a shot in the fourth quarters of the series’ final four games.

The Sixers’ inability to score in the fourth quarter is a primary reason why they have been unable to advance past the second round of the playoffs in the Simmons-Embiid era.

Even after all that transpired Tuesday, Rivers still kept the door open for Simmons to return. The 76ers are scheduled to practice Thursday ahead of their home opener against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

“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 so that’s not going to change.”

For now.

Can't get enough High School sports? Get the latest scores, game highlights and analysis delivered to your inbox each week

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

The best local coverage, unlimited

Sign up for a digital subscription to The Press of Atlantic City now and take advantage of a great offer.


Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News