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22 Oct 2021 10:11
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  •   Home > News > International

    Philadelphia 76ers coach says they want Ben Simmons back, Golden State Warriors fined for tampering

    The Philadelphia 76ers confirm Ben Simmons does not want to return, while Golden State Warriors governor Joe Lacob is fined $69,000 under anti-tampering rules for saying the Aussie would not fit on their team.

    So strict and confusing are the NBA's anti-tampering rules that the man in charge of the Golden State Warriors has been fined for saying his team does not want Ben Simmons, while Philadelphia insists they want to keep him.

    The Australian All Star has been the subject of endless speculation after underperforming in the 76ers' NBA playoffs exit at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks earlier this year, in which he averaged just under 10 points a game and only attempted 14 shots over the final three games.

    Simmons did not take kindly to comments immediately after the final game of the series by teammate Joel Embiid and coach Doc Rivers, who laid a lot of the blame for the shock loss at Simmons's feet.

    Rivers confirmed the 25-year-old does not want to return to the 76ers as trade rumours continue to swirl.

    Reports that he wants to move to a team on the west coast of the US prompted the San Francisco Chronicle to ask Warriors governor Joe Lacob if the 2015, 2017 and 2018 NBA champions wanted the skilled point guard.

    "In some ways, it doesn't really fit what we're doing," Lacob said, without saying Simmons's name.

    "He makes a lot of money. And, can he finish games? I don't know. He's very talented.

    "The problem is, we have Draymond [Green]. Draymond and him are very similar in the sense that neither one really shoots and they do a lot of the playmaking. That's one issue. The salary structure is another."

    If Lacob was hoping not mentioning Simmons by name would keep him out of trouble, he was wrong.

    The NBA announced a $US50,000 ($69,000) fine for Lacob, whose worth is estimated at $1.6 billion, for violating the league's anti-tampering rules, aimed at preventing teams from manipulating the market for a player who is still under contract.

    Simmons only just finished the first year of a gradually increasing five-season deal with the Sixers that will see him paid more than $240 million over the length of the contract, which ends in 2025.

    The size, length and timing of the contract surprised some when it was announced after the 2018/19 season, just his second completed year after being taken with the top pick in the 2016 draft.

    That contract and the fact that Simmons's reputation in the league is at an all-time low will make it difficult for the 76ers to trade him, but Rivers said the team did not want to anyway.

    The 2008 championship-winning coach confirmed Simmons told the team he wanted out, but Rivers said he was hopeful of bringing the three-time All Star back into the fold.

    "I can tell you up front we would love to get Ben back, and if we can we're going to try and do that," he told ESPN.

    "We're not going to give up on that," he added of the two-time All Defensive team member.

    "I've always defended him. I just love how he plays, I love a lot of the things he does for our team.

    "Unfortunately we focus so much on his offence and we don't focus on a lot of the other things he does.

    "Ben's been under a lot of pressure in Philadelphia, we know that … but we have to go through all of this to get him back, there's no doubt about that."

    Meanwhile, the man Rivers was speaking to on ESPN, famed shock jock Stephen A Smith, said Simmons had all the talent in the world but was "not willing to do what is required to be great".

    "If Ben Simmons developed a free-throw shot, not even a jump shot, he'd average 25 points a game. He's that gifted, he's that special of a talent. His problem is he's scared to shoot," Smith said.

    "This brother is LeBron James Part Two if he developed any kind of jump shot or even a free-throw shot. That ain't about skill, it's about heart."

    [sports newsletter]

    © 2021 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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