1. Home
  2. News
  3. NBA
  4. Ben Simmons Soap Opera Continues In Philly As Sixers Open NBA Season

Ben Simmons Soap Opera Continues In Philly As Sixers Open NBA Season

James Murphy
by in NBA on
  • The Philadelphia 76ers routed the Pelicans at New Orleans, winning 117-97 to start the 2021-2022 NBA regular season.
  • Head case guard Ben Simmons was suspended for that game and his status going forward is unknown.
  • Philadelphia media is reporting that Simmons has placed his ‘gaudy South Jersey home’ on the market.

When Ben Simmons unexpectedly reported to the Philadelphia 76ers in the waning days of the preseason the word from his camp was that he ‘had a point to prove’. That made it sound like he was going to show how valuable he was to the team but instead he ‘proved the point’ that he’s a money burning distraction for a team with hopes of a deep run in the postseason. He’s been completely disinterested and has been ‘going through the motions’ when he bothers exerting an effort at all.

The Sixers opened the 2020-2021 NBA regular season on Wednesday and they might have ‘proved the most important point’ of all. Philadelphia had six players in double figures including four scoring 20+ as they routed the New Orleans Pelicans 117-97. Center Joel Embiid had a strong game for the Sixers with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in 26 minutes. Overall, it was a very impressive effort with the Sixers shooting 51.8% from the field while holding New Orleans to 41.9% shooting. The Philadelphia bench was particularly valuable as it contributed 55 points and 20 rebounds.

Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers continues to sound a conciliatory tone toward Simmons but prior to Wednesday’s game he admitted that the situation has tempered the fun that usually surrounds opening day:

“It’s a predicament that we’re in and that part is no fun. It really isn’t. We get to play right now and Ben is not. I want Ben to be playing. That’s his job.”

Rivers kicked Simmons out of practice on Tuesday due to his non-participation and the team suspended him from the opening game. He was fined $330,000 for missing Wednesday game which brings his fines to date (including preseason) to $1.7 million USD. Rivers says he received plenty of calls and texts supporting his decision but it wasn’t something he wants to celebrate:

“Obviously you don’t want any of those things. You get a lot of texts, “great job” and all this stuff and it’s not. I don’t think people understand … you want all your players to do well. You cheer for your players. Even when they’re in a tough spot, you want it to go well for them, you do. When you’re put in positions like [Tuesday], it’s no fun.”

The Sixers will return home late tonight from New Orleans and depending on how the logistics work out they might not practice on Thursday. The play their home opener on Friday night against the Brooklyn Nets and Rivers says that he ‘expects’ Simmons to rejoin the team when they return home:

“I don’t like any player losing money. There’s so many things about this that I don’t like. But that still doesn’t mean you don’t have to do your job.”

As for Simmons’ status going forward, Rivers’ hope that he’ll fall into line could be ‘wishful thinking’. He quickly became the subject of derisive taunts from the New Orleans crowd on Wednesday night–though fortunately for the Sixers their strong play quickly muted the round of ‘Where’s Ben Simmons’ chants. Meanwhile, the local media has praised center Joel Embiid for his leadership in the midst of the situation:

There is an unmistakably different vibe to Joel Embiid this year.

Sure, there was one last season when he finished second in MVP voting and led the Sixers to the East’s top seed.

But going into this season, it’s different.

Between injuries, front office upheaval, a revolving roster and at times Embiid’s own maturity, it took him a little while to get to this point, but here we are. Not only is Embiid cementing his legacy as one of the greatest Sixers in the franchise’s storied history, but he’s also emerging as a leader.

While the Ben Simmons drama continues, it appears the Sixers won’t give in to the three-time All-Star’s trade demands. If the Sixers are successful while the Simmons situation lingers, Embiid’s leadership will be a big reason why.

If Simmons doesn’t want to be criticized by fans and media, he’s playing the wrong market. Then again, no other team or fanbase would tolerate his act either. The national media isn’t buying his antics either–Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal gave him the business on NBA on TNT. Shaq started the onslaught with this observation:

“Kenny (Smith) made a great point last year. Just ’cause we pay certain guys a lot of money, that doesn’t mean you’re a great player. He’s not a great player. He’s a good player. It all started when they asked Doc Rivers, ‘Can you win the championship with Ben?’ and he made the face. Ben’s feelings are hurt. He doesn’t want to be there anymore.”

Barkley, meanwhile, called out Simmons’ lack of professionalism:

“It’s a joke. It’s stupid, and it’s silly. When people ask you to be a better basketball player, and they’re paying you $35, $40 million, that’s a very fair thing. … You should want to be a better basketball player because that’s your profession. That’s your job.”

As harsh as Shaq and Barkely’s comments were it probably can’t get any worse than being insulted by a dude who went viral for catching an alligator near his house in a garbage can. The footage is indeed spectacular:

This led to an interview on Philadelphia’s CBS affiliate:

During which the ‘alligator guy’ went full legend with this blast:

“I just jumped into action and I said, you know what, I’m not going to be Ben Simmons. I’m going to get me this basket.”

For now, Philadelphia appears to be in no hurry to get Simmons out of town. How long that lasts now that the season has begun remains to be seen. As for Simmons, I wouldn’t be too optimistic about his future status with the team–according to NBC Sports, he listed his home for sale in the late hours of Tuesday night. The article described the property as a ‘gaudy South Jersey home’ and later explained that “It’s basically a mansion designed by an 18-year-old who subscribes to the Architectural Digest YouTube channel and spends all his time playing Call of Duty.”

As seen on

Bet Now! Bet Now!