The Philadelphia 76ers suspended Australian guard Ben Simmons for one game, who was also excluded from training on Tuesday for “conduct detrimental to the team,” the NBA club announced.
The 25-year-old, who tried unsuccessfully to leave the Sixers in the preseason, was selected as number one in the draft in 2016 and chosen for the last three editions of the All-Star Game.
The star player will miss the season opener on Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans.
According to various media outlets present during the training session, Simmons showed complete disinterest and refused to participate in the day’s program, in addition to a dispute with the head coach, Doc Rivers, who sent him to the locker room.
This episode shows that despite his rejoining the Philadelphia team last week, having done his best to try to leave, the weather is far from abating.
The schism between the two sides dates back to the last playoffs, when the Sixers were eliminated in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinal against Atlanta. Then the player’s poor offensive performance was highlighted, and Rivers publicly questioned the point guard’s ability to be a championship-winning playmaker.
Then tensions arose between Simmons and team star Joel Embiid from Cameroon, who blamed the Australian for “disrespecting” his teammates with comments last month.
Both the Cameroonian center and Doc Rivers have repeatedly said they want Simmons to stay at the club. The player’s return to the group last week thus heralded the end of the internal crisis, which finally gained momentum. (AFP)