76ers Kick Ben Simmons out of Practice, Suspend Him for Season Opener
The drama between the Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons continues. On Tuesday, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers announced that Simmons is suspended for the season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night due to conduct detrimental to the team. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Rivers threw Simmons out of practice after he declined several times to sub in for a drill.
"I just thought he was a distraction today,'' Rivers said Tuesday 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 was not with the team during the preseason and was fined $1.4 million for his absence. He also levied numerous team fins for missed practices and on-court workouts and meetings, sources told ESPN. Since returning to the team on Oct. 11, Simmons has not earned any money.
Simmons has taken a lot of heat from 76ers fans since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in June. In the game, Simmons passed up an open dunk in the fourth quarter that would have tied the game against the Atlanta Hawks. They would go on to lose the game, leading to their season coming to an end. Simmons asked for a trade during the offseason but reported to the team in the final week of training camp. Since returning to the team, he has not spoken to the media and hasn't said anything since the Game 7 loss.
"At this point, I don't care about that man," 76ers star Joel Embiid said, referring to Simmons. "He does whatever he wants. That's not my job. That's [the front office's job]. "I'm only focused on trying to make the team better, win some games, play hard every night, try to lead the guys we have here and I'm sure they feel the same way because our chemistry has been excellent despite everything that's been happening the past few months.
Simmons, 25, was drafted by the 76ers No. 1 overall in 2016. He was named Rookie of the Year in 2018 and has been selected to play in the All-Star game for the last three years. He played college basketball at LSU, where he was named SEC Freshman of the Year and a consensus first-team All-American.