PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The irony of it all. The Sixers are opening the season in the Big Easy, but the offseason has been anything but. Navigating the Ben Simmons situation has been rocky, at best.
Let’s take a look back at how we got to this point.READ MORE: Joel Embiid Says Sixers Teams Have ‘Always Been Built Around’ Ben Simmons’ Needs
“Offensively, I wasn’t there. I didn’t do enough for my teammates,” Simmons said on June 20.
After a series in which he missed 30 free throws and scored just five points in the Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Simmons appeared to take the blame for the Sixers’ early exit.
His head coach also offered this criticism when asked if they could win a championship with Simmons as a point guard.
“Yeah, David, I don’t know that question or the answer to that right now,” Doc Rivers said.
Following the comments, Simmons made it clear he was done with Philadelphia.
In August, Rivers and Darryl Morey reportedly flew to Los Angeles to convince Simmons to run it back. Simmons would not be swayed.
As training camp began late last month, the 24-year-old was not in Camden.
“It’s tough to play here. Ben didn’t say that, but you have to assume that’s probably part of it,” Rivers said.
“Look, every team goes through its own journey. Ben is a very good player, a big part of this team. We’re disappointed he’s not here,” Morey said.READ MORE: Ben Simmons Saga: Sixers Joel Embiid Defends Relationship With Simmons After Report Of ‘Rift’ Between 2 ‘Escalating’
For missing time, Simmons accrued fines in the range of $1.4 million, and then on Oct. 11, he would rejoin the team after all — kind of.
After being cleared, Simmons took part in Sunday’s practice.
When asked if it was awkward, Tobias Harris summed it up sarcastically.
“No, it was perfectly fine,” Harris said.
On Monday, Simmons looked disinterested and on Tuesday, Rivers threw him out of the facility for refusing to take part in drills.
After practice, the coach took the high road, but Joel Embiid did not.
— CBS Philly (@CBSPhilly) October 19, 2021
“At the end of the day, our job is not to babysit somebody,” Embiid said.
Simmons was suspended one game by the team, but it seems less and less likely he’ll ever play for the Sixers again.
The Sixers kick off the 2021 season in New Orleans and on Friday night, they’re right back in Philadelphia against Brooklyn. That said, their sights remain set on a title.MORE NEWS: Simmons Returns: Sixers Fans React To Star Showing Back Up To Philadelphia After Holdout
“I’m excited to play some games. I’m excited to go out and compete against other guys and win some games,” Embiid said.