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76ers suspend Ben Simmons for a game after 'detrimental' conduct

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76ers suspend Ben Simmons for a game after 'detrimental' conduct
Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) will miss the team's first game of the season due to a one-game suspension for "conduct detrimental to the team." File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The Philadelphia 76ers suspended point guard Ben Simmons for their first game of the season for "conduct detrimental to the team," the team announced Tuesday.

76ers coach Doc Rivers told reporters he asked Simmons to leave practice Tuesday because he has distracting teammates.

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The 76ers face the New Orleans Pelicans in their first regular-season game at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday in New Orleans.

"I thought he was a distraction," Rivers told reporters. "I didn't think he wanted to do what everyone else was doing. It was early. It wasn't a big deal. I just told him he should leave then, and we went on with practice."

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Simmons is set to earn $31.5 million this season. He is signed with the 76ers through the 2024-25 season. The three-time All-Star posted career lows in points, rebounds and assists per game in 2020-21.

He requested a trade this summer and did not report to training camp. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft helped the 76ers post an Eastern Conference best 49 wins last season, but struggled in the playoffs.

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Simmons made just 34.2% of his free throws and averaged just 11.9 points per game last postseason. He averaged just 9.9 points per game and made 33.3% of his free throws in the 76ers' Eastern Conference Semifinals series loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

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All-Star center Joel Embiid, Simmons' teammate for five seasons, told reporters it is not his job to be a "baby sitter" when asked about the point guard.

"I don't care about that man honestly," Embiid said Tuesday. "He does whatever he wants. That's not my job. ... I'm only focused on trying to make the team better, win some games and try to lead the guys we have here.

"I'm sure they [teammates] feel the same way. Our chemistry has been excellent, despite everything that's happened [with Simmons] in the last few months."

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Rivers said "hopefully" when asked Tuesday if Simmons wants to play for the 76ers this season.

"Every day, every single moment, I'm going to give Ben a chance to join the team and be part of the team," Rivers said. "He is under contract to be part of the team, so that's not going to change."

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