The Philadelphia 76ers hired Doc Rivers as coach to help Ben Simmons take the next step in his career and to turn this team into a championship contender. Now, coming off another playoff disappointment, Rivers may be the reason Simmons is traded.
Simmons is a big reason why the 76ers lost to the Atlanta Hawks. The All-Star guard delivered one of the worst playoff performances in recent memory, shooting 33% from the free-throw line and averaging just 9.9 points per game in 34 minutes per night.
When the 76ers lost Game 7, it sparked trade rumors about the star’s future. Even after a rough stretch, there was a strong trade market, but Philadelphia’s asking price stood in the way of a blockbuster trade. Soon, NBA rumors surfaced that Simmons wasn’t speaking to the organization.
The Philly Voice’s Kyle Neubeck offered insight on where things stand with Simmons and the 76ers, including his relationships with teammates and coach Doc Rivers.
“Simmons, for example, has not cut off everybody in the organization…Teammates of his have said otherwise, and one of the team’s photographers makes constant appearances with or around Simmons on the west coast. That is not to say everything is hunky-dory, or that the stakes of this offseason aren’t clear to both sides. The relationship between Simmons and Doc Rivers, it’s worth noting, suffered significant damage that some believe is irreparable, though the Sixers would tell you when pressed on this they believe things can be worked out and fences can be mended.”PhillyVoice‘s Kyle Neubeck on the relationship between Ben Simmons, Doc Rivers
It’s not known exactly what caused the fractured relationship. Rivers defended Simmons throughout the playoffs, excusing the Washington Wizards’ intentionally sending Simmons to the foul line. The veteran coach has publicly done a lot to defend the star guard, but there is speculation leaked criticisms of players come from Rivers.
- Ben Simmons stats (2020-’21): 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.6 steals, 106 Defensive Rating
If Simmons wants out of Philadelphia, he might have to wait. The 76ers have seemingly set an asking price so high because they only want to move Simmons for Damian Lillard or a package that could net the ALl-Star point guard. Considering Lillard hasn’t demanded a trade and the Portland Trail Blazers want to keep him, Philadelphia is forced to wait.