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In his season-ending media session, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers touted the team’s plan to address the shooting woes of point guard Ben Simmons and reiterated his belief the team can fix his long-broken jump shot.
Rivers may now also need a plan to mend his relationship with the 25-year-old.
According to Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice, the head coach and the former No. 1 overall pick have a ways to go there.
“The relationship between Simmons and Doc Rivers, it’s worth noting, suffered significant damage that some believe is irreparable,” Neubeck wrote Wednesday, “though the Sixers would tell you when pressed on this they believe things can be worked out and fences can be mended.”
Neubeck also contradicted the notion that Simmons hasn’t spoken with members of the Sixers organization. That doesn’t mean that everything looks good for Philly here.
The team has yet to find a trade partner for a potential Simmons deal, which may be related to a lack of movement around Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal more than anything else.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe explained why on Wednesday:
“Simmons is the only one among them who is available, but his availability is very much tied to the other two — and probably more to Lillard than Beal, though that can swing in time. Several teams—including the Warriors, Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves—have discussed Simmons with varying degrees of interest, sources said, but one reason talks haven’t gone far is that the Sixers likely view Simmons as their path to Lillard.”
Nonetheless, an offseason deal involving Simmons remains uncertain at best. There are still plenty of unknowns when it comes to the 6’11” guard.
While videos from Simmons’ offseason workouts portend improved shooting, it’s hard to trust any offseason footage on its own merits. Similar footage appears to hit social media around the same time every summer, as For The Win’s Andrew Joseph noted.
What is clear is that after one season with Rivers at the helm, the two are struggling to work together. Philly brought the 59-year-old coach in after his unceremonious departure from the Los Angeles Clippers because the club believed he was the title contender’s missing piece.
It appears their issue, though, remains the point guard position. At his year-end media session, Rivers said Simmons still has all the tools to lead the team—even if the two aren’t on the best of terms.
“I am positive in Ben,” Rivers said. “I’m very bullish on Ben still. But there’s work. There’s work. There is. And Ben will be willing to do it. Sometimes you have to go through stuff to see it, and be honest with it.