The Ben Simmons saga took yet another drastic turn this week, as Doc Rivers and the 76ers organization fined and suspended Simmons for 1 game for 'disrupting' the team during a practice session. This situation has been escalating since the 76ers' playoff exit and will continue to do so until Simmons gets traded.
Doc Rivers addressed the situation in the press after practice but maintained a diplomatic stance. He noted that Ben was serving as a distraction to the team, and so he asked him to leave the session.
But his teammate Joel Embiid, who has been vocal about his frustration with Simmons, was a lot less blunt. He said that he doesn't care what Simmons does anymore and that Simmons will continue to do whatever he wants in order to get his way.
Stephen A. Smith weighed in on this situation and verbally unleashed on Simmons. He pointed out that Simmons is ready to do whatever to leave. He bashed Simmons for not taking accountability or trying to improve. And now, he is trying to behave detrimentally to the organization out of spite in order to get his way.
“He’s made it very clear that he doesn’t want to be there. And he’s made it very clear he is willing to sabotage anything and everything that gets in his way to prevent him from getting the hell out of Philadelphia. Ben Simmons is sending a message to the Philadelphia 76ers; ‘I don’t want to be here, I don’t want any part of this’. And he did it before he was due to speak to the media for the first time since demanding a trade out of Philadelphia. He doesn’t want to answer to the media, he doesn’t want to answer to the local fanbase, he doesn’t want to wear a Philadelphia 76ers uniform. He wants no part of this situation with the Philadelphia 76ers. Is he wrong? You’re damn right he’s wrong. Because it wasn’t the 76ers that did anything to him. He did it to himself. He managed to shoot 14% from three-point range. He has no perimeter game to speak of at all. He’s great in every other way, but not when it comes to that, or free throw shooting. That’s on him, that’s not the fault of the Philadelphia 76ers fanbase nor the 76ers organization. Nevertheless, he wants out. And because he wants out, and a player of that magnitude has the ability to be a disruptive, dare I say, cancerous force on the team, he’s basically prioritizing for the 76ers organization. You need to get me the hell up out of here soon as you possibly can. Doc Rivers suspended him to let him know ‘I’m going to cost you some money now. You ain’t going to come up here and disrupt on purpose in an effort to get yourself traded and think that’s going to work with us and (think) you gon’ still get your money’. So obviously, it’s an ugly situation. And it’s bound to get continuously ugly until Daryl Morey, Elton Brand, and Doc Rivers find a way to get Ben Simmons out of there.”
There seems to be no way out but a trade for Simmons. But his trade value has been low since the playoffs. On top of that, his reaction to this entire situation has made NBA executives question getting him, wondering whether he would behave the same way in a different environment.
Going forward, the 76ers have maintained their stance that they will not give up Ben for role players, and expect an All-Star in return. With Simmons' stock falling day by day, the 76ers may not have much choice but to get rid of him for as much as they can leverage.