Speaking to fellow former J.J. Redick on the “Old Man and Three” podcast, which came out Thursday, he said he was in a “tough place” in Philadelphia.
“I didn’t feel like I understood it [help] From the coaches and my teammates – I wouldn’t say all of my teammates, because there are great people on this team who have hooked up and are still my friends – but I didn’t feel like I got that, and it was just a tough place for me,” he said.
Simmons, a three-time All-Star, sat at the start of the 2021-22 season as he sought a deal from the 76ers. At a stalemate, the 76ers traded him with the Brooklyn Nets in February, receiving James Harden and Paul Millsap in return, but Simmons did not play last season. He underwent surgery in April for a back injury.
Simmons said he tried to return to the 76ers last season but coach Doc Rivers kicked him out of training and later suspended him.
“I actually spoke to Doc before training. I was like, ‘Doc, I’m not ready,'” Simmons told Riddick. Mentally, I’m not ready. Please just understand.” I tried to tell him beforehand, and he was like, “Okay, I’ll put you through anyway.” I’m like, “Okay.” He asked me to enter. I looked at him. It was like a minute into training, like, “Ben, get in.”
“First of all, nobody does that. You do it on purpose. And that’s how I felt too. It looks like everyone is trying with me now. I’ve been fined for not lifting weights, but physically I’m one of the strongest players in the f-ing team. So Now they’re fining me for little things. It was just a buildup. Obviously, I didn’t handle things the right way, but, well, neither did the team, and the people who had that strength.”
Now, he said, he’s happy to be in Brooklyn, where he’ll play alongside co-stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
“You’re going to get sick,” Simmons said. “I can’t wait.” “I’m so excited. I got a new number, a new shirt. I’m just looking forward to it. I think we have a special team. I think if we put everything together, we’ll be the champions. That’s the ultimate goal.”
The #1 overall pick for the 2016 NBA draft, Simmons, 26, is a two-time All-Defensive Team pick. In 275 professional games, he averages 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists.