CLEVELAND — Ben Simmons got his wish when the 76ers traded him to the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 10. Still, his decision not to play for the Sixers until he was traded while in the second year of a $177 million contract extension remains a hot topic. .
The league owners have privately expressed their dissatisfaction with a standout player who opted to sit out with several seasons remaining on his contract. But Simmons said he was mentally incapable of playing for the Sixers.
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NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the situation on Saturday during All-Star Weekend.
“Step back and put aside [the] individual dispute, [this situation is] a reminder that these are human beings in some of the most stressful jobs,” Silver said. “I don’t want to compare them to people putting their lives on the line and things like that. It’s a whole different level of stress, but when it comes to the social media bubble that they live in, the coverage that you all provide that we’re grateful for, people react to it in different ways, and that can be incredibly intense on them.
“We have to adapt to the way society is to understand how social media can impact people, how media coverage affects them.”
Simmons became public enemy No. 1 in Philadelphia after struggling in June’s playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Fans burned their No. 25 Simmons jerseys. Philadelphia and national media continue to mock his poor shooting.
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The point guard also felt five-time Sixers All-Star Joel Embiid and coach Doc Rivers threw him under the bus after the game-breaking Game 7 loss on June 20.
The Sixers traded Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks to the Nets for James Harden and Paul Millsap.
The Sixers will entertain Brooklyn at the Wells Fargo Center on March 10.