Doc Rivers Says The Real Reasons Behind Ben Simmon’s Drama Aren’t What People Believe


Doc Rivers says his post-season comments had nothing to do with Ben Simmons’ ugly departure from the Philadelphia 76ers.

When Simmons’ collapse on the field contributed to the Sixers crashing out of the 2021 playoffs, Rivers was asked if he thought Simmons could be a championship team’s point guard.

“I don’t know the answer to that question right now,” he replied.

That quote has long been attributed in part to Simmons forcing his way out of town, but Rivers insists the Aussie guard wanted out because of pre-existing issues.

“That one comment had nothing to do with why Ben wanted to leave,” Rivers told The VC Show with Vince Carter. “Okay? Let me just say that.”

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“It was a lot of things, as Ben told me, and now in public, that happened long before I got there. What frustrated me was that I still feel it shouldn’t have been enough to want to leave. I just didn’t and I told Ben that. I kept telling him that. This is not why you leave a team. You work these things out.

“They didn’t get worked up and so yeah, we had a conversation. Not a long, long conversation, but we did have one good conversation…but the point was, he already left.

Rivers didn’t specify what (or who) played a part in Simmons wanting to leave, but the only other person in Philadelphia known to have had their disagreements with him was Joel Embiid. The two stars were always an uneasy match, and Embiid’s frustration with Simmons boiled over several times.

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The star big man publicly identified Simmons passing an open dunk as a turning point in the 76ers’ brutal playoff flame in 2021.

On another occasion, Embiid was asked about Simmons and said, “Right now I honestly don’t care about that man. He does what he wants.”

Earlier this year, he told Sports Illustrated that “there were so many times I thought I was really going to lose it” when he read reports that Simmons wanted out.

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Rivers didn’t elaborate on the specific factors that triggered the Simmons drama, but did say he had no ill will toward his former start watch.

“I want the child to be well,” he said. “I don’t have any bad feelings about him. He has done me no wrong. Now I want to kick them all in the ass if they’re not on my team. That’s the competitive side of me, but as a human being I think we all have to want Ben and all these guys to do well.”


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