Following the 2021 NBA Postseason is when Ben Simmons went public with his desire to leave the Philadelphia 76ers. The team had just suffered another early exit from the playoffs, losing in seven games to the Atlanta Hawks, at home no less, in the second round.
Simmons was the scapegoat for a lot of people as his offensive performance cratered. It got to the point that he was unwilling to shoot the ball on offense, losing all confidence in his game. The videos and photos of him passing the ball to Matisse Thybulle with the only thing between him and a dunk was Trae Young, is a lasting image.
That ended up being the last time we saw Simmons in a 76ers uniform and we have yet to see him on the court since. Simmons has since been traded to the Brooklyn Nets and he missed the entire 2021-22 NBA season because of a back injury and seeking to improve his mental wellbeing.
A lot of speculation has been shared about what caused Ben Simmons to request a team. A lot of people believe it was his performance in the NBA postseason and subsequent comments made by some teammates, namely Joel Embiid and head coach Doc Rivers that drove him to do it.
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Alas, that does not seem to be the case. Rivers recently made an appearance on ESPN’s “The VC Show with Vince Carter” and revealed that he had a good talk with Ben Simmons following the trade.
“That one comment thing had nothing to do with why Ben wanted to leave,” Rivers said. “Alright? Let me just say that. It was a lot of things as Ben told me — and publicly now — that happened long before I got there. What frustrated me was that I still think it shouldn’t have been enough to want to leave. I just didn’t and I told Ben that. I kept telling him that. This is not why you want to leave a team. You work these things out. They didn’t get worked out and so yeah, we’ve had one talk. Not a long, long talk, but we did have one good talk.”
There is no ill-will between Ben Simmons and Doc Rivers, as the talk they had was a positive development. Rivers is also hoping that Simmons does well in Brooklyn, just not when he is playing against Rivers and the 76ers.
“I want the kid to do well. I don’t have any, like, bad feelings about him. He didn’t do anything wrong to me. I just want most guys do, I really do. Now I want to kick all their butts when they’re not on my team. That’s the competitive side of me, but as a human being, I think we all should want Ben and all these guys to do well.”
The two should have plenty of matchups as long as Rivers remains head coach of the 76ers, as they will face off four times in the regular season as Atlantic Division foes. Both teams should battle for playoff spots as well, where they could very well face off again depending on how the standings shake out.
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