Ben Simmons’s teammates have called on Philadelphia 76ers fans to stick by the Australian as his future with the NBA team remains in doubt.
- Ben Simmons has met with his 76ers teammates for a meeting his coach hopes will help begin to bring him back into the fold
- Both Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris made public statements of support, calling Simmons their “brother”
- Simmons did not play in the 76ers home opener against Brooklyn and a return date is as yet unknown
Simmons sat out the Philadelphia 76ers’ home opener on Friday night for personal reasons and the franchise does not know when the three-time All-Star guard will return.
Ahead of tip-off for the game against the Brooklyn Nets, Joel Embiid addressed the home crowd and asked for them to support Simmons.
“A lot has happened in the last few months and I ask you guys to continue to support us and our teammate Ben, because he is still our brother,” Embiid said.
Earlier, Tobias Harris said he and the team would give Simmons time and welcome him back into the fold when he was ready.
“We’ll respect his privacy and space during this time,” Harris tweeted.
“When he’s ready, we will embrace our brother with love and handle our business on the court. That’s it, that’s all.”
Simmons was suspended for the first game of the season for conduct detrimental to the team after coach Doc Rivers threw him out of training for refusing to participate in a drill.
He returned on Friday and addressed the team before the shootaround for the opener against Brooklyn. Rivers said it was a “productive day” and hoped the meeting was a start toward bringing Simmons back into the fold.
“It still doesn’t mean things will work out perfect, or it could,” Rivers said.
“I’ve always believed that. I’ve never wavered from that.”
Rivers said he didn’t want to predict when Simmons might rejoin the Sixers — if the guard returns at all.
“We’re going to make sure Ben’s with the right people and see where that goes,” Rivers said.
“He is part of the team. We have certain rules, obviously. The other day, that didn’t happen. But today was a good day.”