“I was in such a bad place where I was like, f— trying to get here and you guys are throwing all this other stuff in my face where you don’t help. And that’s it I wanted to help,” Simmons told former Sixers teammate J.J. Riddick on the ‘The Old Man and the Three’ podcast.
“I didn’t feel like I received it from the coaches and my teammates – I wouldn’t say all my teammates, because there are great players in this team who have reached out and are still my friends – but I didn’t feel like I got that, and it was just a tough place for me.”
The Simmons, a three-time All-Star, was bought by the Brooklyn Nets in February as part of the blockbuster trade that sent James Harden and Paul Millsap to the Sixers. Simmons did not play for either team during the 2021-22 season, underwent surgery in April for a back injury, and pressed for Philadelphia to replace him after the end of the 2020-21 season.
In February, Simmons said he hadn’t felt himself during his five seasons in Philadelphia.
He told Riddick he tried to “do the right thing” by trying to get back on the field before last season – after threatening never to play for the Sixers again – but was fired from coaching by coach Doc Rivers for being a “distraction” after Simmons refused multiple times to enter training. . He was eventually stopped for his detrimental behavior to the team.
“I actually spoke to Doc before working out. I was like, ‘Doc, I’m not ready,'” Simmons said on the podcast. 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.”
Simmons, the 2016 first-choice draft pick and one of the league’s top defenders, reached a settlement with the Sixers to recover a portion of about $20 million withheld from him, sources told ESPN in August.
“I don’t care about money,” Simmons told Riddick. “It’s not about money for me right now. I want peace and happiness. I want to be in a good place, and if it costs me whatever it costs, that’s what it costs. My safety is more valuable than money.”
He is expected to be ready to start training camp with the Nets later this month, joining new teammates Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
“It’s going to be sick,” Simmons said on the podcast. “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.”