76ers disgruntled star Ben Simmons was kicked out of Tuesday’s practice by head coach Doc rivers for being disengaged during team drills.
That same day, teammate Joel Embiid said he wasn’t worried about Simmons’ situation any longer. Then came Friday, where Simmons declared himself not mentally ready to play and accepted responsibility, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Simmons, 25, reportedly met with Rivers and his teammates to relay the news, adding a new layer to this story. Simmons requested a trade during the offseason, but general manager Daryl Morey’s high price tag steered teams away. Morey then told 97.5 The Fanatic on Thursday that he’s prepared to drag this out as long as he needs to trade Simmons for a high caliber player.
With Simmons prepared to sit out, his trade value figures to plummet even further, while the 76ers go with second-year Tyrese Maxey in Simmons’ place at the point.
Embiid was supportive of Simmons after Philadelphia’s 114-109 loss to the Nets on Friday, telling NBC Philly’s John Clark that they are a better team with Simmons on the court.
“That’s a first step. It’s a start. It was good to hear from him. We are better with him. I wouldn’t mind playing with him,” Embiid said.
Embiid’s words echo what he told the Philadelphia crowd before the game, thanking the fans for sticking with them through the turbulent offseason.
“He’s still our brother,” Embiid said.