Messy Divorce

Ben Simmons has been back with the Philadelphia 76ers for 10 seconds and is already suspended

October 19, 2021

Tuesday marks the opening day of a brand-new NBA season and storylines abound. How will LeBron James and Russell Westbrook get along in Los Angeles? Will Kyrie Iriving eventually suit up in Brooklyn? Can Giannis run it right back? And yet, despite all that, all anyone can talk about, at least in the greater Philadelphia area, is Ben Simmons’ cell phone.

That’s Simmons at his first Philadelphia 76ers practice back after a protracted (and ugly) holdout this summer. For a while it was the worst kept secret in sports. Then it wasn’t a secret anymore. Following one of the single worst postseasons by a marquee player in NBA history, Simmons came right out and said it: He didn’t want to play in Philadelphia anymore, and when you don’t want Philadelphia, hoo boy does Philadelphia not want you. The bridge appeared burned.

Unfortunately for Simmons, the 76ers could find the right buyer for the right price, and both sides had to push on, like a married couple on the rocks just trying to keep it together until the kids go off to college. That doomed endeavor began Monday when Simmons finally reported to practice, cell phone in his pocket, making no effort to huddle with the team …

… and then collapsed spectacularly on Tuesday when Doc Rivers reportedly booted Simmons from practice, suspending him for “detrimental conduct.”

Joel Embiid, who Simmons reportedly has a strained relationship with, was then asked to share his thoughts on the dumpster fire, and he made no effort to grab the extinguisher.

Needless to say, Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers organization as a whole should be ashamed, humiliated, mortified. Questions rage like a pissed off Eagles fan—Android or iPhone? How bad do you have to f—k up to get Doc Rivers to discipline you? Why bother to show up at all?—but something tells us we won’t be getting answers, let alone a resolution, anytime soon. If that isn’t a fitting way to kick off a new season of sports’ greatest soap opera, however, we don’t know what is.