Ben Simmons had to ‘be an a–hole’ to be kicked out of practice


Did Celtics legend Paul Pierce call Ben Simmons an “a–hole”?

During an appearance on “The Cedric Maxwell Podcast” this week, Pierce discussed 76ers coach Doc Rivers, who coached Pierce in Boston, tossing Simmons out of practice last week.

“If Doc kick you out of practice, that’s bad ’cause I ain’t never seen (that),” Pierce said on the podcast. “I think I’ve seen Doc kick someone out maybe once. Like Doc ain’t gonna kick you out for nothing, you know what I’m saying?

“You really gotta be an a–hole for Doc to kick you out of practice, ’cause Doc’s one of the coolest coaches. He understands the player.”

The former ESPN broadcaster knows Rivers all too well after playing under him for 10 seasons during stints with the Celtics and Clippers.

Pierce seemed to suggest that whatever went down during last week’s Sixers practice must’ve been pretty serious for Rivers to remove Simmons

The Australian served a one-game suspension as a result for reportedly refusing to participate in a team drill.

76ers Ben Simmons Doc Rivers
Ben Simmons (l.) and Doc Rivers (r.)
Getty Images

“I don’t know if that relationship can be mended back together,” Pierce said. “I feel like it’s so far gone, because when I hear the things that Embiid is saying in an interview like he can’t babysit, and Doc’s kicking you out of practice — it’s draining to a franchise. It’s draining to your teammates if you’re trying to win.”

Despite the All-Star point guard’s absence in the Sixers’ season opener, Philadelphia beat New Orleans, 117-97, with Tyrese Maxey in his place.

As for the latest in the Simmons-Sixers drama, the 25-year-old met with the team late last week and said that while he wants to play, he is not yet “prepared mentally” to take the court.

76ers Ben Simmons Doc Rivers
Doc Rivers (c.) and Kevin Garnett (r.) support Paul Pierce (l.) during his Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement last month.
NBAE via Getty Images

The Sixers are no longer penalizing Simmons for missed games and practices, according to ESPN, which reported the team collected roughly $2 million in fines during his holdout.

Now, the Sixers are reportedly focused on offering Simmons whatever resources he needs to aid his mental health. 

Simmons returned to Philadelphia after missing all of preseason. He requested a trade during the summer at the start of a months-long standoff with the team.

He has four years and $147 million left on the max contract he signed in 2019.

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