After being bounced by the Atlanta Hawks in a series where he performed poorly, Simmons disappeared from the team and was unreachable for quite some time. Then, he magically appeared one day in Philadelphia during the preseason only to once again disappear from team action after being suspended for the team’s season opener.
Simmons is simply not interested in being a part of the Sixers this season, and he sure did get his wish. The Sixers star was ejected from practice yesterday by head coach Doc Rivers after the guard reportedly refused to participate in defensive drills.
Simmons’ lack of enthusiasm should not come as unexpected, but this kind of behavior is surprising even with the circumstances surrounding his return. Many, including the Sixers, hoped that Simmons’ return could signal a level of professionalism that would enable him to co-exist with the team. With the reports of his behavior and eventual suspension breaking the internet today, it seems that Philadelphia is far from resolving the issue. If Simmons’ return appeared to be warmly accepted by his teammates early on, it is apparent that some, namely Sixers star Joel Embiid, are fed up.
The situation is now a precarious one for the Sixers front office. They may be prepared to play a significant part of the regular season without Simmons, but without Embiid’s blessing, there is no way this is going to end well in Philadelphia.
The Sixers have repeatedly said that they will not accept a package of role players for the All-Star, but something has got to give at some point. Even if Ben doesn’t come to any of the games, he keeps the Sixers from progressing towards becoming a contender with this kind of behavior. Embiid has spoken, and now it’s time to get Simmons out of Philadelphia by doing whatever it takes.