Ben Simmons, Sixers rapidly approaching point of no return
Another day, another development in the Ben Simmons saga. Things hit a boiling point Tuesday afternoon when Doc Rivers kicked the three-time All-Star out of practice for being disengaged and a distraction. In a corresponding move, the team has also suspended Simmons for the Philadelphia 76ers’ season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.
After how things appeared to be playing out this summer, it’s hard to believe they have gotten worse. Now, with just one day to go before the regular season gets underway for the Sixers, they have reached a breaking point with their disgruntled All-Star.
When Simmons shockingly made his return during the preseason, the team welcomed him back and were willing to let this past offseason’s events be water under the bridge. Unfortunately, the former No. 1 pick has not matched that same level of professionalism. Since rejoining the team, Simmons has done nothing to show any form of a change of heart.
Despite ending his holdout, it’s clear that Ben Simmons’ focus remains on getting a change of scenery. We are now witnessing a similar situation to the Houston Rockets last year, where James Harden sandbagged it on the court until he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
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With how things continue to play out, it seems doubtful that Simmons ever takes the court in a game. Doc Rivers will not roll him out after the minimal effort and engagement he has shown in practice. His decision to remove him from practice is an indicator he is not going to let Simmons’ antics get in the way of what the team has built in recent weeks.
At the end of the day, there is only so much people can put up with. Despite countless efforts of trying to conduct things maturely, Rivers saw the writing on the wall. The season opener is close to 24 hours away, and they cannot afford to let outside distractions derail them from getting off on the right foot.
Credit should be given to Rivers and the Sixers. After all that Simmons and his camp did this summer, they could have handled his return much differently but opted to give the benefit of the doubt.
Simmons continues to play a game of chicken with the Sixers’ front office and has once again come up on the losing end. Daryl Morey did not flinch when he threatened to holdout, and he will likely remain unfazed by his practice antics.
It might have worked for other stars in the past, but Simmons’ actions are not getting him closer to what he wants. Morey refuses to sell low on a trade, and all the 25-year-old has done since the offseason is decrease his value. Other GMs might have given in by this point, but Morey will not allow an unhappy All-Star to get in the way of him building a championship contender in Philadelphia.
There is no telling how Ben Simmons responds when he returns from his suspension, but this standoff between player and organization is far from over.