Simmons reportedly has indicated he will never play another game for Philadelphia.
“Well, I hope we can change that thought,” Rivers said on ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill, and Max. “That’s part of our job.”
Things seemed amicable at first between Simmons, agent Rich Paul and the 76ers as they considered an offseason plan. It became widely known the Sixers would be looking to move Simmons. The came a meeting between Simmons, Rivers, head of basketball operations Daryl Morey, GM Elton Brand and team owner Josh Harris last month.
Since that time, Simmons has seemingly wanted out.
“The greatest thing in sports is, you know it’s fair, you fail at times and then you get back on the horse and try,” Rivers said Wednesday. “You would be amazed if I told you how many times through a summer when you don’t win, which is 29 teams, how often you have to go through something similar to this.
“Because losing’s hard. People internalize it, and you have to deal with it. So we’re going to deal with this.”
So far, the 76ers haven’t found any offers they like. The Cavaliers, Kings, Timberwolves and Rockets are all said to be some of the more aggressive Simmons suitors.
“There are teams that are interested in Ben Simmons, they just don’t want to pay the steep price,” Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer said during an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic. “Ben Simmons knows that, so they are saying why should we help the 76ers out when they feel like when Doc Rivers said what he said, nobody apologized, and Doc was never reprimanded.”
Pompey was referring to Rivers’ comments after the 76ers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Hawks. When asked if Simmons could be a point guard on a championship-caliber team, Rivers said, “I don’t know the answer to that right now.”
Rivers denied making that comment, though it has been recorded by multiple outlets.
“That’s not what I said, actually,” Rivers said when asked about the comment. “This is when narratives … and this is what makes our jobs hard. I actually said when the guy asked, guys, I’m not answering that stuff right now. I don’t even know how to answer that. So what I was talking about was not answering the question. It had nothing to do with Ben.”
Rivers clarified the remarks in a press conference the following day, then insisted Wednesday he believes in Simmons.
“Yeah, all day. All day. He just does so many things, man,” Rivers said, going on to explain how scoring isn’t everything.
“The Ben Wallaces of the world. It was great to see him go into the Hall of Fame. And the Dennis Rodmans of the world … help teams win titles and have Hall of Fame careers without being great scorers,” Rivers said. “I do think Ben can score way more than he has scored, but that’s not what makes him great. What makes him great is all the other things he does.”