76ers

Sixers suspend Ben Simmons for season opener following practice spat

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers open their 2021-22 regular season on Wednesday night in New Orleans, but star Ben Simmons will not play any role for Doc Rivers’ squad.

Simmons was suspended for one game due to conduct detrimental to the team on Tuesday, following a disagreement at practice with Rivers. The 25-year-old point guard left practice after declining to sub in multiple times for a defensive drill, continuing what has been a rocky relationship this offseason.

The fifth-year pro has been linked with a move away from Philadelphia following the team’s exit from the postseason last spring. Simmons signed a five-year, $170 million contract with the team in 2019, but it doesn’t look like the Australian native will remain with the team until the end of that deal.

“I just thought he was a distraction today,” Rivers said Tuesday. “I didn’t think he wanted to do what everybody else was doing. It was early. It wasn’t a big deal. I just told him he should leave. We went on with practice.”

Simmons has been fined $1.4 million so far for missing four preseason games this fall along with several team practices earlier in camp. Simmons will also lose roughly another $227,000 for being suspended for Wednesday’s season-opener.

Star center Joel Embiid didn’t mince words following Tuesday’s practice regarding Simmons’ actions with the team this preseason.

“I’m trying to win,” Embiid said post-practice. “And to win, you have to have that relationship with your teammates. I do have that relationship with all my teammates.”

“But at the end of the day, our job is not to babysit somebody. We get paid to produce on the court, go out, play hard, win some games … that’s what we get paid for. We don’t get paid to come out here and try to babysit somebody. So that’s not our job, and I’m sure my teammates feel that way. We’re really focused on just winning and playing as a team.”

Second-year player Tyrese Maxey will likely start at point guard on Wednesday with Simmons suspended and Shake Milton injured.


You can follow Larry Henry on Twitter (@lhenry019) and e-mail him at lhenry1919@gmail.com.

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