Report: Ben Simmons ignored Doc Rivers’ calls and texts, frustrated that 76ers coach didn’t visit anyway

Ben Simmons and 76ers coach Doc Rivers
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Ben Simmons is sacrificing a lot of money not to play for the 76ers.

Why is Simmons, who says he’s not mentally ready to play, so adamant about not playing for Philadelphia specifically?

Several reasons have been cited:

Add some grievances to the list.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

According to sources close to Simmons, he’s upset that Embiid seemed to blame him for last season’s playoff loss, when Simmons did not blame Embiid for Embiid’s poor showing in the playoffs against the Toronto Raptors in 2019. He’s frustrated that Rivers didn’t come to see him while he was training in Los Angeles last summer.

Simmons doesn’t dispute that he didn’t reply when Rivers texted and called him several times over the summer asking to see him. But in hindsight, Simmons feels Rivers and the Sixers could’ve done more, like show up at a well-known gym in the San Fernando Valley where he was training.

I don’t know who leaked what and why. There are competing agendas in this contentious standoff. It almost sounds as if the intent is to garner sympathy for Simmons.

But these complaints reflect incredibly poorly on Simmons.

Embiid wasn’t up to his usual standards in that 2019 second-round loss to the eventual-champion Raptors. He averaged just 17.6 points per game, shooting 37% from the field, and 8.7 rebounds per game. He averaged more turnovers (4.0) than assists (3.3) per game in the series. Toronto center Marc Gasol‘s defense gave Embiid plenty of trouble.

But Embiid – who was playing through a knee injury – was still pretty darned effective. Philadelphia generally soundly outplayed the Raptors when he played and got absolutely crushed in the limited minutes he sat:

After pouring his heart into the series, Embiid famously cried after losing Game 7. He then used the setback as motivation to improve as a postseason player.

That’s a far cry from how Simmons is viewed with this situation.

Simmons’ stance toward Rivers is even more absurd.

Simmons ignoring Rivers’ calls and texts sent a clear message to any reasonable person: Give me space. Only Simmons and his sycophants could be upset that Rivers didn’t show up unannounced at Simmons’ workout anyway. As someone who was on track to NBA stardom a long time then actually became one, Simmons might have become accustomed to special treatment and people bending to his whims. But this is beyond the pale.