Ever since his Game 7 postgame press conference, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers has had a difficult time getting in contact with the team's three-time All-Star Ben Simmons. Despite the countless times Rivers defended Simmons all throughout the 2020-2021 season, Rivers' questionable response to a question regarding Simmons at the end of the year fractured the player-coach relationship.
Now, Ben Simmons and the Sixers are in a stare-down. Although Daryl Morey and the front office have been open to moving the three-time All-Star, they haven't received any offers worth truly exploring. Therefore, the Sixers would like it if Simmons returned to Philadelphia when training camp begins next week.
But Simmons won't budge. At this point, he desires a trade and doesn't plan to play another minute for the 76ers. If Simmons' holdout leaks into the regular season, then the Sixers could change their stance on whether they want to keep him or not. For now, though, Doc Rivers confirms the Sixers want the disgruntled guard to return.
"I hope we can change that thought," Rivers said on ESPN Wednesday morning in regards to Simmons' decision to hold out next week. "That's part of our job."
As for Rivers' communication with Simmons this offseason, the veteran head coach confirms he's had a difficult time connecting with the star guard throughout the offseason, which obviously makes it hard for Rivers to convince Simmons to show up for training camp and the preseason.
"Not much [conversation]. We have had some," Rivers explained. "I get his feelings, and I understand where he's at right now. But we have some time, and we're going to keep working on it to get him in the right place."
The Sixers begin training camp next Thursday. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Simmons still has every intention of holding out. While Rivers still has confidence that the team can get Simmons to change his mind over time, it seems it's going to take a lot of work to get Simmons back in a Sixers uniform.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.