'The team is livid': 76ers seething over Ben Simmons' latest move

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Ben Simmons, pictured here during a Philadelphia 76ers practice session.
Ben Simmons looks on during a Philadelphia 76ers practice session. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Philadelphia broadcaster Howard Eskin has made explosive new claims in the Ben Simmons fiasco, saying the 76ers are "livid" with the Australian star's latest move to avoid playing for the team.

The three-time All-Star guard told the 76ers on Friday that he is not mentally ready to play and needs additional time.

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Multiple media outlets reported that the Australian met with head coach Doc Rivers and the team's medical professionals, while also speaking with All-Star centre Joel Embiid and the rest of the team at the training facility in New Jersey.

Simmons' actions on Friday come one day after he did not participate in a scheduled individual work-out, telling officials he had tightness in his back.

But according to Eskin, Simmons' claims have left the 76ers furious.

“According to sources, belief by Sixers Ben Simmons is faking injury and mental illness,” the broadcaster tweeted.

“He came in 2day and said he had back stiffness and mentally not ready to play. 

"Mental illness is serious issue and team is livid Simmons went down that road. Team plans to fine him every game.”

It is not immediately known if Simmons will suit up for the 76ers in their home opener against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

The 25-year-old served a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team in Philadelphia's season-opening 117-97 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday. 

He received the ban for refusing to participate in a practice drill on Tuesday.

Ben Simmons saga could drag on for years

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey took a strong stance on Thursday afternoon in a Philadelphia radio interview with 97.5 The Fanatic.

"People should buckle in," Morey said.

"This is gonna go a long time, because my only job is to help give us the best chance to win the title.

"Ben Simmons is a difference-maker, so if we can get him back, he will help us win the title. 

"If we can trade Ben Simmons for a difference-maker, we will do it. I think that's best for everyone in this situation.

"Would you rather eliminate what people perceive to be a distraction, or would you rather have better playoff odds? I'll take playoff odds.

Ben Simmons, pictured here in action for the Philadelphia 76ers in March.
Ben Simmons in action for the Philadelphia 76ers in March. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

"Whatever we have to deal with that helps the Philadelphia 76ers win the title, we'll do it.

"You're going to think I'm kidding, I'm not. This could (go on for) four years.

"We're in the prime of Joel (Embiid's) career...Either Ben Simmons is playing for us, or we have to get back a difference maker."

Without Simmons, Tyrese Maxey scored 20 points as the fill-in point guard in the season opener. 

Embiid and reserve guard Furkan Korkmaz led Philadelphia with 22 points each.

"Our focus was always like zeroed into this game, but I think that just comes from a lot of guys having added opportunity here," said forward Tobias Harris, who had 20 points and 12 rebounds. 

"And really trying to figure out ways that they can maximise that type (of) opportunity."

Simmons averaged 14.3 points, 6.9 assists and 7.2 rebounds in 58 games last season. 

However he averaged just 11.9 points in the playoffs while shooting a dismal 34.2 percent from the free-throw line, sparking the months-long saga that has seen him on the outer at the Sixers.

with AAP

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