NBA Sixers coach Doc Rivers confirmed Wednesday that point guard Ben Simmons had requested to leave the club, but insisted the franchise wants the Australian star to remain on the team.
On Tuesday, news reports released that Simmons had informed the Sixers that he planned to go on strike not to show up for preseason training, seeking to be allowed to migrate to another team.
“He gave his reasons and we obviously disagreed,” Rivers told ESPN of a communication he starred in in August in which Simmons asked to be included on the transfer list.
According to various newspaper reports, the 25-year-old, still firm in his position, recently warned his coaches that he would not report to preseason training camp.
Rivers wants to convince Simmons, a former draft No. 1, chosen by Philadelphia in 2016 and selected in the last three All-Star Games, to stay on the team.
“We are going to do what is best for the team, but I can tell you that we would like Ben to stay,” said the coach.
The Sixers lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals to Atlanta (4-3). Simmons had been singled out for poor performance in the closing minutes of games and Rivers later questioned his ability to weigh offensively to win a title.
Now, the 76ers coach tends to put things in perspective.
«I miss him, I have always defended him. I love the way he plays. Unfortunately, we get so focused on his offense that we don’t focus on a lot of the other things he does, ”Rivers remarked.
“We are not going to give up Ben,” he said.(AFP)