'Must be traded': ESPN host savages 'cancerous' Ben Simmons

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·Sports Reporter
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Ben Simmons unsuccessfully attempted to force a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers before the NBA season began.
Ben Simmons' attempts to force a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers have backfired in spectacular fashion. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Ben Simmons' presence among the Philadelphia 76ers has been described as 'cancerous' by one NBA commentator after the Australian star was kicked out of practice and suspended earlier this week.

The 76ers sent Simmons home from practice after he refused to take part in a defensive drill, suspending him for their season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans.

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The move prompted a fresh round of criticism over Simmons' conduct since Philadelphia was sent tumbling out of the playoffs last season.

Chastised for poor free throw shooting and other struggles by star teammate Joel Embiid and coach Doc Rivers in the aftermath of the shock defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks, Simmons demanded a trade over the off-season.

Simmons attempted to put pressure on the 76ers and force a move by vowing not to report to the team again - but this backfired when the team was unable to find a trade before the season began.

He eventually relented and returned to the team after financial penalties for not showing up began to add up - but his attitude showed he was clearly unhappy to be back.

The latest turn of events led well-known ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith to launch a spectacular tirade against Simmons, declaring the former No.1 pick had brought his awkward situation on himself.

“He doesn’t want to face the media. He doesn’t want to answer to the local fanbase. He doesn’t want to wear the 76ers uniform. He wants no part of this situation with the Philadelphia 76ers," Smith said.

“Is he wrong? You’re damn right he’s wrong because it wasn’t the 76ers that did anything to him, he did it to himself — the man shoots 14 per cent from three-point range, he has no perimeter game to speak of.

"He’s great in every other way but not when it comes to that or free throw shooting. That’s on him, that’s not the fault of the Philadelphia 76ers fanbase or the 76ers organisation."

Not done there, Smith went on to suggest Simmons could potentially compromise the 76ers' season with his mere presence if he wasn't 100% committed to the team.

“Nevertheless he wants out. And because he wants out and a player of that magnitude has the ability to be a disrupter, dare I say, cancerous force on the team," Smith said. 

"He’s basically prioritising for the 76ers organisation that you’ve got to get me the hell up out of here as soon as you possibly can.”

Ben Simmons kicked out of 76ers practice ahead of NBA season opener

The Aussie star will miss the 76ers' NBA season opener against New Orleans on Wednesday after being banned for what the club described as "conduct detrimental to the team".

Details have since emerged about how great the disconnect between Simmons and the Sixers has been, with reports that he frequently ignores teammates and staff and spends as little time at the practice facility as possible.

"People present at the scene say Simmons has simply come and gone inside the 76ers' facility since returning to practice Sunday," NBA insider Shams Charania reported.

"He enters the facility and ignores most 76ers staffers. For instance, when the 76ers' security official greeted Simmons on Sunday, the three-time All-Star just walked right by him.

"When others greet him, Simmons typically has given no response."

Ben Simmons was booted out of 76ers' practice ahead of their NBA season opener against New Orleans.
Ben Simmons was kicked out of practice ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers' NBA season opener, with the team also suspending him for one game. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Simmons has almost exclusively been training by himself since returning to the fold, but things came to a head when Rivers asked him to join in on a defensive drill.

The Aussie reportedly told the coach, "No", before he was asked to leave the session and head home - orders the 25-year-old promptly followed.

"I just thought he was a distraction today," Rivers said.

"I didn't think he wanted to do what everybody else was doing.

"I just told him he should leave. We went on with practice."

Superstar teammate Embiid had much stronger words for Simmons.

"At this point I don't care about that man, honestly. He does whatever he wants," Embiid said.

"I'm focused on making the team better, win some games, play hard every night, try to lead the guys that we have here.

"At the end of the day, our job is not to babysit somebody."

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