CAMDEN, N.J. — In the wake of the Philadelphia 76ers suspending Ben Simmons for their season-opening game in New Orleans on Wednesday night, superstar center Joel Embiid said he has yet to speak to Simmons, and declared — several times — that it isn’t his job to “babysit” anyone.
“I’m trying to win,” Embiid said after Simmons had been tossed from Tuesday’s practice by 76ers coach Doc Rivers. “And to win, you have to have that relationship with your teammates. I do have that relationship with all my teammates.
“But at the end of the day, our job is not to babysit somebody. We get paid to produce on the court, go out, play hard, win some games … that’s what we get paid for. We don’t get paid to come out here and try to babysit somebody. So that’s not our job, and I’m sure my teammates feel that way.
“We’re really focused on just winning and playing as a team.”
The 76ers announced late in Tuesday’s practice that Simmons has been suspended one game for conduct detrimental to the team, a suspension he’ll serve for the opening game Wednesday against the Pelicans.
Simmons had been thrown out of practice by Rivers after he declined several times to sub in for a drill, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“I just thought he was a distraction today,” Rivers said Tuesday after practice. “I didn’t think he wanted to do what everybody else was doing. It was early. It wasn’t a big deal. I just told him he should leave. We went on with practice.”
The 76ers have fined Simmons $1.4 million for his absence from four preseason games ($360,000 each) and levied numerous team fines for missed practices, on-court workouts and meetings, sources told Wojnarowski. Simmons hasn’t earned any money since returning to the team on Oct. 11.
By being suspended for Wednesday’s game, Simmons will lose roughly another $227,000.