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Ben Simmons Suspension Drama 'No Fun' for 76ers Ahead of Opener, Doc Rivers Says

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVOctober 20, 2021

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers is clearly unhappy with the latest drama surrounding Ben Simmons.

"It's a predicament that we're in, and that part is no fun. It really isn't," Rivers told reporters Wednesday. "We get to play right now, and Ben is not. I want Ben to be playing. That's his job."

Simmons is suspended for Wednesday's season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans because of conduct detrimental to the team. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the guard was kicked out of practice Tuesday after refusing to participate in drills.

Rivers said he has gotten support for his handling of Simmons this offseason, but he still doesn't like the situation.

"You cheer for your players," the coach said. "Even when they're in a tough spot, you want it to go well for them, you do. When you're put in positions like [Tuesday], it's no fun."

It is part of a wild offseason for Simmons, who was reportedly shopped for much of the summer after a glaring playoff failure against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. He told the 76ers in late August he wanted a trade and would hold out into the season.

He eventually surprised team personnel by reporting to the Wells Fargo Center in early October without telling anyone he was ending his holdout.

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The fiasco is, of course, ongoing. Rivers clearly didn't see the three-time All-Star as engaged during the practice, creating a tough situation for the entire team.

One year after Philadelphia finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference, Simmons' situation has thrown the team into turmoil heading into 2021-22. 

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