clearn.png
Saturday December 4th, 2021 11:19PM

Rivers: 76ers still want disgruntled guard Simmons back

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The 76ers and representation for disgruntled All-Star Ben Simmons have neared a resolution of the guard’s holdout that could potentially see him rejoin the team this week.

The first step was in motion Monday night: Simmons was in Philadelphia and coach Doc Rivers did not rule out the possibility of a return to practice at some point this week.

“Clearly that’s what we want, or we wouldn’t be talking if that wasn’t part of it,” Rivers said.

Simmons missed training camp and the preseason in the wake of his offseason trade demand that had left the Sixers without their three-time All-Star -- and Simmons out millions in lost salary and fines. The 25-year-old Australian still has $147 million and four years left on his contract.

Rivers said he has not talked to Simmons during the holdout, only Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul. Sixers President Daryl Morey has fielded offers for Simmons but has yet to find a package to his satisfaction that would keep the the Sixers among the Eastern Conference's best teams.

Morey and Rivers have been publicly optimistic since the start of training camp that Simmons would play again for the Sixers. Rivers said he did not know if the situation could be resolved this week.

But the possibility of a reunion -- as farfetched as it once seemed -- could be on the horizon.

“We’ve said from Day 1 what we’ve wanted,” Rivers said. “We’d love to have him back. Other than that, honestly, there’s nothing to report.”

Rivers said conversations with Klutch “have been good throughout, honestly” and there was no animosity on either side.

The bottom line of the holdout may very well be about the bottom line; the more games and practices Simmons misses, the more money he loses. Report to Philadelphia and, even if he never plays, the financial bleeding starts to ease up.

Simmons, the No. 1 pick of the 2016 draft, had been paired with Joel Embiid as the franchise cornerstones as the Sixers chase their first NBA championship since 1983. Simmons, though, took the brunt of the blame for the top-seeded Sixers’ second-round exit in last season’s playoffs. He shot 34% from the free-throw line in the postseason and was reluctant to attempt a shot from anywhere on the floor late in games.

Rivers and Embiid both made pointed comments about Simmons following the Game 7 loss to Atlanta.

Rivers said his “I don’t know” response to if Simmons could be a championship point guard was taken out of context. Embiid has refused to back down and said in camp the melodrama was “weird, disappointing, borderline kind of disrespectful to all the guys that are out here fighting for their lives.”

Rivers downplayed potential issues in the locker room, should Simmons return.

“Other than that first 10 minutes of ‘welcome back’ and taking the crap from your teammates about missing camp and stuff, guys want to win,” Rivers said. “They want to win and they look at Ben as a guy that can help them do that.”

Embiid endorsed Simmons' return after the Sixers beat the Nets in a preseason game.

“I believe that he gives us the best chance to win,” Embiid said. “We're a better team with him than without. That's for sure. I'm happy that things have resolved and we can move on and can try and be a better team.”

Could Simmons actually start Oct. 20 opening night in New Orleans?

“My guess is when, if he comes, I think he’ll be ready to play,” Rivers said.

Rivers defused the situation, opening his pregame press conference by saying, “Hello, everyone, I have a statement to make.” As questions about Simmons kept coming before the Sixers played the Brooklyn Nets, Rivers said, “you guys know we have a game today, right?”

The Sixers played without injured point guards Ty Maxey and Shake Milton.

So, what about the point guard situation?

“Well, we don’t have one,” Rivers said.

Help, still perhaps implausible, might be on the way.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Matt Amodio's new chapter in history-making 'Jeopardy!′ run
This story contains a spoiler about Monday's “Jeopardy!”
7:44PM ( 9 minutes ago )
At least 2 dead in California plane crash that burned homes
Authorities say at least two people were killed and two others injured when a small plane crashed into a suburban San Diego neighborhood, destroying two homes and a delivery truck
7:39PM ( 14 minutes ago )
NFLPA leader Smith appreciates Gruden reaching out
NFL Players Association leader DeMaurice Smith says he appreciates that Raiders coach Jon Gruden reached out to him following the report that Gruden used a racist comment in a email about him 10 years ago
7:32PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Punchless Crew: Brewers slumping at worst possible time
The Milwaukee Brewers have picked the worst time of year to go ice cold at the plate
6:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
Pederson 3-run HR, Braves blank Brewers for 2-1 NLDS lead
Joc Pederson enhanced his “Joctober” nickname with a three-run, pinch-hit homer and the Atlanta Braves shut down Milwaukee once again, beating the Brewers 3-0
6:07PM ( 1 hour ago )
Changed race, familiar result: Kenyans sweep Boston Marathon
Benson Kipruto won the pandemic-delayed Boston Marathon as the race returned from a 30-month absence and moved to the fall for the first time in its 125-year history
5:54PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Sky open WNBA Finals with 91-77 win over Mercury
Kahleah Copper scored 21 points, Allie Quigley added 18 and the hot-shooting Chicago Sky opened the WNBA Finals with a 91-77 win over the Phoenix Mercury
6:31PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Reyes set to become 1st Chilean in NFL game
Tight end Sammis Reyes is active for Washington against New Orleans and is set to become the first Chilean player to appear in an NFL game
12:21PM ( 1 day ago )
Sky-Mercury set for 2014 WNBA Finals rematch
Diana Taurasi has the Phoenix Mercury back in the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2014
12:38PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Online Basketball
Bucks-Grizzlies game suspended after fire alarm evacuation
The exhibition game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Memphis Grizzlies was suspended after three quarters when a fire alarm went off, leading to evacuation of FedExForum
11:40PM ( 5 days ago )
Veteran Pau Gasol announces retirement from basketball
Pau Gasol has announced his retirement from basketball to put an end to a career of more than two decades that earned him two NBA titles and a world championship gold with Spain’s national team
1:34PM ( 6 days ago )
Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins receives COVID-19 vaccine
Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins has received his COVID-19 vaccine and will be eligible to play in all games
3:44PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Matt Amodio's new chapter in history-making 'Jeopardy!′ run
This story contains a spoiler about Monday's “Jeopardy!”
7:44PM ( 9 minutes ago )
At least 2 dead in California plane crash that burned homes
Authorities say at least two people were killed and two others injured when a small plane crashed into a suburban San Diego neighborhood, destroying two homes and a delivery truck
7:39PM ( 14 minutes ago )
NFLPA leader Smith appreciates Gruden reaching out
NFL Players Association leader DeMaurice Smith says he appreciates that Raiders coach Jon Gruden reached out to him following the report that Gruden used a racist comment in a email about him 10 years ago
7:32PM ( 21 minutes ago )
American Hockey League to have 10 female officials this year
Ten female officials will work games in the American Hockey League this season
7:32PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Yale student’s new chapter in history-making “Jeopardy!′ run
This story contains a spoiler about Monday's “Jeopardy!”
7:30PM ( 24 minutes ago )