Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers aren’t off to a great start.
The team suspended Simmons for one game and he will miss the season opener on Wednesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans after what they called conduct detrimental to the team. Simmons reportedly refused to play as a full participant during Tuesday’s practice, so head coach Doc Rivers kicked him out and suspended him.
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Fellow superstar Joel Embiid took a massive shot at Simmons.
“At this point, I don’t care about that man. He does whatever he wants,” Embiid said.
Simmons, who held out of training camp after demanding a trade during the offseason, reported to the team last week and practiced Sunday and Monday with the Sixers. Simmons hasn’t talked publicly about the offseason trade request.
Simmons, 25, still has four years and $147 million left on his max contract.
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“I just thought he was a distraction today,” Rivers said Tuesday after practice. “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 reportedly was outside of the team huddle, dribbled a basketball and looked uninterested during a team huddle at Monday’s practice, where he did not practice with the first team.
“Every day, every single moment, I’m going to give Ben a chance to join the team and be part of the team,” Rivers said. “He’s under contract to be part of the team and that’s not going to change. Sometimes it happens quick and guys join back in. Sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve been in both situations and I’m fine with that.”
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Simmons did not make his scheduled media availability Tuesday. Rivers said Simmons would be welcome to return to practice. The Sixers play their home opener Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.