Ben Simmons Philadelphia 76ers trade: Doc Rivers interview, NBA news 2021

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A grovelling attempt to re-write the history of the Ben Simmons trade saga has blown up in the 76ers’ face with some staggering new details emerging.

A grovelling attempt from Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers to re-write the history of Ben Simmons’ messy divorce from the team has immediately been swatted away by NBA reporters.

Simmons reportedly doesn’t want to play for the 76ers again and is willing to be heavily fined and possibly even suspended for sitting out pre-season camp in an effort to force through a trade.

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Rivers on Thursday broke his silence on the subject to declare he wants Simmons to stay and will try everything he can to convince the Aussie to remain in Philly.

The veteran, championship-winning coach also attempted to clarify his infamous comment in the minutes that followed the team’s elimination from the NBA Playoffs in June where he appeared to question Simmons’ ability to ever lead a team to an NBA championship.

On an interview with ESPN on Thursday Rivers now says his comment was taken out of context — the only problem is that the record shows his attempt to re-write history is a fallacy.

Rivers was asked whether he believed Simmons could ever be a championship-winning point guard, to which he responded: “I don’t know”.

He now says his response was made in reference to him addressing those lines of questioning so soon after their loss to Atlanta in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Playoffs series.

All Star teammate Joel Embiid also said after the game Simmons failure to take an open dunk was the reason the team lost.

Rivers says he told Simmons the next day that his comment had been twisted.

It is the first time he has tried to refute the portrayal of his press conference, whish was held three months ago.

It’s why his U-turn doesn’t pass the smell test with some local reporters.

Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice wrote: “It’s not even close to what he said” and suggest the best way to deal with the Simmons situation was by not “brazenly lying”.

“Whether you buy Rivers’ retro-fitted explanation or not, the only person whose opinion matters on the subject is Simmons, whose interpretation of the quote contributed to his desire to seek a new situation this offseason and the distance he has kept from the organisation since the season ended.”

Fox Sports radio host Jason Smith also wrote on Twitter that Rivers is responsible for the entire mess.

“Doc Rivers ruined everything with that comment. He ruined the relationship with Ben Simmons. He ruined his time with the 76ers, and he ruined whatever value in a trade they can get,” Smith said.

“I told you last night Doc Rivers was the one responsible for the Ben Simmons situation. Why do you think he was on the media tour today? The Sixers wanted him on TV, trying to fall on the sword & saying ‘We love Ben! I was misquoted!’ What a load of c***.”

The timeline of saga’s beginning has also been brought back into the spotlight on Thursday by a report Simmons had made his decision to leave the team just days after the season-ending loss.

Sports columnist Tom Moore wrote in The Bucks County Courier Times Simmons first asked to be traded when his agent Rich Paul met with senior team officials just four days after the defeat at a draft combine event.

Earlier reports claimed the Sixers had also begun exploring trades for Simmons before the meeting took place. Which came first remains uncertain.

Moore’s report also claims the Sixers’ new stance on trying to convince Simmons to stay with the team is much more than empty, words with the team recognising it is best off if Simmons can be coaxed into returning — especially since no desirable trade offer has eventuated.

Rivers confirmed on First Take that Simmons met with the Sixers front office, including himself, recently to inform the team he wanted a trade.

“Yeah, I mean it was a good conversation and he gave us reasons which we obviously didn’t agree with,” Rivers said.

“We’re always going to do what’s best for the team, but I can tell you up front, we’d love to get Ben back and if we can’t we’re going to try to do that. Ben has a long contract. It’s in our hands and we want him back.”

In early August, it was reported that Simmons “cut off communication” with most of the Sixers organisation — and that any exchanges were being handled by his agent.

It’s not just the 76ers dealing with the fallout from the Simmons saga though. Golden State owner Joe Lacob has been fined $US50,000 ($AUD70,000) for violating the NBA’s anti-tampering rules with comments he made about Simmons to the media.

Lacob told the San Francisco Chronicle the Warriors weren’t looking to recruit Simmons after rumours emerged the two parties could be keen to link up.

“I think we are always looking at everything to see if we can improve our team. We would always look,” Lacob said. “In some ways, (trading for Simmons) doesn’t really fit what we’re doing.

“He makes a lot of money. And, can he finish games? I don’t know. He’s very talented. The problem is: We have Draymond (Green). Draymond and him are very similar in the sense that neither one really shoots and they do a lot of the playmaking.

“That’s one issue. The salary structure is another.”

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