Simmons kicked out of practice, suspended for season opener


CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers announced early Tuesday afternoon that Ben Simmons has been suspended one game for “conduct detrimental to the team.”

He’ll miss the team’s season opener Wednesday against the Pelicans.

“I just thought he was a distraction today," Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said following practice. “I didn’t think he wanted to do what everybody else was doing. It was early (in practice). It wasn’t a big deal. I just told him he should leave then, and we went on with practice.”

Simmons ended his holdout last week and, after clearing COVID-19 protocols, participated in the Sixers’ practices Sunday and Monday. He requested a trade shortly after the Sixers’ second-round playoff loss to the Hawks, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said at media day. 

MORE: Joel Embiid rips Ben Simmons after Tuesday practice

Simmons was kicked out of Tuesday’s practice for not being engaged, The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Simmons "declined several times to sub into a drill."

Wojnarowski later reported Simmons has been fined for missing preseason games and other team activities, and that he hasn't earned any money since returning to the team. 

Rivers, who had called Simmons a "full participant" in the team's prior two practices, did not specify why he removed Simmons. He framed the situation as a day-to-day matter, noting the Sixers would expect Simmons at practice Thursday. The team's home opener is Friday night against the Nets. 

“I don’t know," Rivers said of whether this would be a lingering issue. “Every day, every single moment, I’m going to give Ben a chance to join the team and be part of the team. He’s under contract to be part of the team, and so 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. But at the end of the day, as a coach I have to protect the team — the team first, and then we get to the other part. And so today I just thought it was more important to focus on the team.”

Without Simmons, Tyrese Maxey figures to be the Sixers' lead ball handler. Seth Curry, Furkan Korkmaz and Isaiah Joe are a few of the team's other options with Shake Milton (right ankle sprain) sidelined.

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