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#pounditSunday, December 3, 2023

Doc Rivers responds to Ben Simmons’ reported issues

Doc Rivers with an annoyed face

Ben Simmons has had issues with Doc Rivers dating back to at least last year’s NBA playoffs, but the Philadelphia 76ers coach continues to avoid returning fire — for the most part.

A report from ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne on Tuesday claimed Simmons is frustrated in part because Rivers did not fly out to see him when he was training in Los Angeles. Though, Shelburne was told by sources that Simmons ignored numerous calls and text messages from Rivers. The coach was asked about the report, and he said he has been nothing but supportive of Simmons. He also offered some surprising remarks about the ongoing trade demand saga.

“It’s all posturing. That’s why you haven’t heard me — I don’t get involved in all that stuff. I’ll leave that up to the front office and Ben’s camp,” Simmons told Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times. “I’m staying out of that part. But, listen, some of this stuff I laugh at and I feel bad. I think Ben’s a good kid. I want Ben to do well.”

Rivers said it is his job as an NBA coach to tell players the truth, even if it hurts to hear. He said he does that in the name of winning and that the people who can’t handle it “probably don’t handle me well.”

“I always have supported Ben. I want him to do well,” Rivers added. “It’s just the excuses and all that stuff. One of the things I tell all my players is that respect is a two-way street, especially these young guys. You can’t expect to ignore us or not listen and then want us to do something different to you. You have to respect each other to be successful in life.”

Those comments were pretty telling. Rivers has obviously grown tired of the Simmons drama, which seemingly has no end in sight. It has been a distraction during what is looking like a promising season for the Sixers.

Simmons is not going to change his mind about playing in Philadelphia no matter what Rivers says. The former first overall pick also supposedly has one big issue with one of his star teammates. It is only a matter of time before Simmons is traded, but that time may not come until the offseason.


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