76ers guard Ben Simmons’ antics have caused quite a stir, even amongst former players. You can go ahead and add Hall of Famer Paul Pierce to that list.
Pierce notably played under 76ers head coach Doc Rivers for years in Boston and knows how he is in practice. Rivers dismissed Simmons from last Tuesday’s practice for being disengaged, and Pierce didn’t hold back on his opinion about the situation. Pierce appeared on Cedric Maxwell’s self-titled podcast this week and said it takes a certain kind of person to get kicked out of a Rivers practice.
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“If Doc kicks you out of practice, that’s bad because I ain’t ever seen that,” Pierce said. “I think I saw Doc kick a player out maybe once? Doc ain’t going to kick you out for nothing. You really have to be an a-hole for Doc to kick you out because Doc’s one of the coolest coaches.”
As Pierce points out, Rivers is one of the most respected coaches in the league. It had to have taken a lot for him to kick Simmons out of practice, and video of Simmons at practice shows Rivers was indeed justified. Simmons looked to be going through the motions and then bolted to the locker room the second practice ended.
Simmons met with Rivers and the team on Thursday and told them that he was not mentally ready to play but took responsibility for his actions.
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The 25-year-old requested a trade over the summer but his temper tantrum hasn’t yet gotten him what he wants. 76ers general manager Daryl Morey has steadfastly held out for the right deal, waiting for a monster haul to come through.
That seems unlikely now, with Simmons being called out by everyone around him, and Morey has said he’s prepared to drag this out as long as he has to.