Doc Rivers didn't hold back during his postgame press conference following the Sixers' Game 7 loss in the second round of the playoffs to the Atlanta Hawks a couple of weeks back. When asked whether he believes Ben Simmons could be a point guard on a championship-winning team or not, he answered as honestly as possible.
"I don't know the answer to that right now," Rivers said.
As expected, the quote was blown out of proportion on social media following a dramatic Sixers loss. And it turns out that might've been the cause of the reported rift between Simmons and Doc Rivers, which is apparently unrepairable at this point.
At this point, Simmons no longer wants to play for the Sixers. Last week, the veteran guard met with key members of the organization such as Daryl Morey, Josh Harris, Elton Brand, and Rivers. During the reported meeting, Simmons told the Sixers he would not show up for training camp and wants to be traded.
Before the "stare down" officially ensued, it seemed Simmons could begin preparing for the 2021-2022 season as a member of the Sixers. However, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer all but confirmed that Simmons and Rivers' issues, which stem from the Game 7 comments, are the root of Simmons' issues with the team.
"There are teams that are interested in Ben Simmons, they just don't want to pay the steep price," Pompey said during an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic Monday morning. "Ben Simmons knows that, so they are saying why should we help the 76ers out when they feel like when Doc Rivers said what he said, nobody apologized, and Doc was never reprimanded."
Basically, Simmons feels slighted over Rivers' postgame comments. Although the veteran head coach defended the All-Star guard all season long, one questionable comment caused a rift in their relationship. Now, it seems Simmons is no longer open to working with Doc Rivers.
The Sixers can still get solid value out of a Simmons trade, but Daryl Morey is slowly starting to approach lose-lose territory. Not only is Simmons' value lower than ever after his disappointing second-round showing in the playoffs, but the Sixers lose leverage as Simmons holds out and shows he's willing to avoid suiting up for the 76ers as long as he's on the roster.