Ben Simmons spoke with Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey this week for the first time all offseason. Prior to that, the only communication Simmons had with the team was through his agent, Rich Paul. As you might expect, some of those conversations did not go smoothly.
Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report published a lengthy story on Wednesday explaining some of the current dynamic between Simmons and the 76ers. According to Fischer, there was one conversation between Rivers and Paul during the offseason in which Rivers cursed out the agent over his client’s refusal to report to the team.
“It’s in your f—ing contract,” Rivers reportedly shouted at Paul during a meeting at Paul’s home.
Simmons signed a five-year, $170 million extension with the Sixers two years ago. That hefty contract is one of many factors that has made him difficult to trade.
Many people believe Simmons only decided to report to Philly this week because he had racked up roughly $1 million in fines, but Simmons was reportedly never concerned about his pay being withheld. The former first-overall pick believed he would somehow be able to recoup the money if and when a trade came together.
Rivers has maintained all offseason that the Sixers want Simmons back, and he reiterated that this week. However, his relationship with Simmons has been under a microscope since the coach passed up a chance to throw his support behind Simmons after the playoffs.
While Doc has gotten heated with reporters over the way they presented his comments, some NBA executives told Fischer that they believe “Rivers’ statement in particular as reprehensible for a coach.” Rivers did not throw Simmons under the bus in the same way that Joel Embiid did, for what it’s worth.
For now, Simmons is back with the Sixers. He still wants a trade, so both sides may be hoping his return helps facilitate one.