Doc Rivers shared he's been getting a lot of messages of support for the way the 76ers have dealt with Ben Simmons. Finally, someone said "no" to a superstar and it seems a lot of the league has been turning for this moment, but it doesn't mean Rivers is happy about it.
"I don't like any player losing money"
Ben Simmons obviously won't be playing on opening night, and the 76ers are worse for it. Simmons realized Jalen Rose was right when he said "you hold out in the NFL, and you show up in the NBA," so he showed up and created a scene. Doc was asked about all the support the team and himself have been getting and explained it's not something the 76ers are enjoying.
"Obviously, you don't want any of those things. You get a lot of texts, "great job" and all this stuff and it's not. I don't think people understand. You want all your players to do well, you cheer for your players even when they're in a tough spot, you want it to go well for them. It's a predicament we are in, and that part is no fun. We get to play right now, and Ben's not. I want Ben to be playing. That's his job."
Doc Rivers, pregame
Doc pointed out we all have things about our job we don't like, but that doesn't mean we don't have to show up. As long as Simmons is on the roster, Doc will speak in support of his player, but it's becoming more difficult for everyone on the team to hide their feelings. The way Simmons went about forcing the Sixers to trade him resulted in losing the trust and respect of the locker room.
How do the Sixers move forward?
Priority no.1 is to win games. Not just because that's what everyone's paid to do, but because it will reduce the pressure on Doc and the players about this entire situation. If the Sixers struggle without Simmons, there will be even more questions about missing him on the court, and it will eventually lead to one thing Daryl Morey won't be able to ignore. Joel Embiid walking into his office and making it clear Simmons needs to go ASAP.
Tonight will be our first chance to see how much the fact this situation is "no fun", as Doc described it, reflects on the court. Knowing Embiid, he could try to use it as fuel to send a message to Simmons - "we don't need you." Time to find out.