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Ben Simmons reportedly done with 76ers, but coach Doc Rivers says 'we want him back'

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The Philadelphia 76ers enter the 2021-22 season with more questions than answers as superstar guard Ben Simmons’ career in the city that drafted him No. 1 overall hangs in the balance.

Simmons told the 76ers’ brass last month he wants to be traded and has no plans to attend training camp this fall, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Simmons has been one of the best point guards in the league but his lack of ability to shoot the basketball has hampered the team’s chances in the playoffs.

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ESPN additionally reported Simmons has no intentions of playing another game with the 76ers.

Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young (11) fouls Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons (25) during the first half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series on Monday, June 14, 2021, in Atlanta.

Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young (11) fouls Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons (25) during the first half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series on Monday, June 14, 2021, in Atlanta.
((AP Photo/Brynn Anderson))

Caught in the middle of a looming Simmons decision is coach Doc Rivers, who came to Philadelphia before the start of last season hoping to get the team to the NBA Finals. After being eliminated in the NBA Playoffs in June, Rivers said he didn’t know whether Simmons could be a part of a championship team.

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On Wednesday, Rivers backtracked a bit, saying he didn’t mean what he said in the postgame press conference and was “basically just saying I’m not answering that crap, those questions.” He said his latest remarks on ESPN’s “First Take” speaking with Stephen A. Smith.

“I can tell you up front, we would love to get Ben back, and if we can, we’re going to try to do that,” Rivers said. “Ben has a long contract, so it’s in our hands and we want him back.”

FILE - Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons reacts after grabbing a rebound during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets in New York, in this Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, file photo. Simmons says he's taking his ball and going home. The 76ers say they still want their disgruntled All-Star guard. 

FILE – Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons reacts after grabbing a rebound during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets in New York, in this Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, file photo. Simmons says he’s taking his ball and going home. The 76ers say they still want their disgruntled All-Star guard. 
((AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File))

Another thing hampering Simmons’ trade value is the albatross of a contract. He is entering the second year of a five-year, $177.2 million deal. He is owed $33 million this season and by 2024-25 will be making $40.3 million.

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There will have to be a ton of salary-cap gymnastics if the 76ers do find a suitor. The Houston Rockets have been one of the teams mentioned in trade rumors with John Wall being centered as the player heading to the 76ers.

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