Paul Pierce Reacts to Ben Simmons, Doc Rivers Drama in Philly

Getty Images Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett shake hands during the 2021 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony

As the saga between Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons and the Sixers continues, one Hall of Fame legend who spent many years playing for head coach Doc Rivers opined what will transpire next in 2021-22 for Philadelphia.

Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce joined CLNS Media’s Cedric Maxwell Podcast, where Maxwell asked Pierce to weigh in on Simmons and the drama that’s going down in Philly.

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“If Doc kicks you out of practice, that’s bad because I ain’t never seen (that). I think I saw Doc kick a player out maybe once? Doc ain’t going to kick you out for nothing,” Pierce explained. “You know what I’m saying? You really have to be an a****** for Doc to kick you out of practice because Doc’s one of the coolest coaches. He understands the player.”

Paul Pierce Unsure Ben Simmons, Doc Rivers Will Make Amends

Pierce, who like the rest of us, has seen things go from bad to worse for Simmons and the Sixers — even in light of Simmons finally rejoining the team after refusing to do so prior to training camp — believes Doc kicking one of his star players out of practice is the point of no return for Rivers and his point guard.

“I don’t know if that relationship can be mended back together,” Pierce added. “I feel like it’s so far gone.”

Furthermore, Simmons’ All-Star counterpart in Joel Embiid wouldn’t extend an olive branch.

“At this point, I don’t care about that man,” Embiid said last week, per Sports Illustrated’s Justin Grasso. “He does whatever he wants. That’s not my job. That’s [the front office’s] job. I’m only focused on trying to make the team better, win some games, play hard every night, try to lead the guys we have here, and I’m sure they feel the same way.”

Pierce: Ben Simmons ‘Derailing’ Joel Embiid, Sixers

For a contending team with championship aspirations, this sort of drama can truly hinder a team’s spirit, according to Pierce.

“When I hear the things that Embiid is saying in the interviews, like, he can’t babysit, Doc kicking you out of practice. It’s draining to a franchise, it’s draining to your teammates if you’re trying to win,” Pierce explained. “They got championship goals over there with Ben Simmons. They were the number one team in the east at the end of the year. Number one, record-wise. I don’t know what they can do now.”

In the end, the void left in Simmons’ absence could turn out to be a golden opportunity for players such as backup point guard Tyrese Maxey, Furkan Kormaz, and others.

“It’s derailing because guys like Embiid have a legacy that’s one the line where you can add a championship to your resume,” Pierce added. “The thing is: when you lose one guy like that, other guys got to be ready to step up. So, if I’m one of the other guys, hey, it’s time to step up.”


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