Doc Rivers Admits He Was "Praying" For The Sixers To Trade Simmons

It was obvious that the Philadelphia 76ers needed to move on from Ben Simmons. But up until the trade with the Brooklyn Nets for James Harden was finally consummated, Sixers coach Doc Rivers and his superstar center Joel Embiid had insisted they still thought Simmons could be reintegrated into the team and be a critical part down the stretch. 

Now, in a Sports Illustrated "tell-all" cover story, Rivers spoke candidly about just how he really felt about the Simmons situation as it neared its end:

“The guys were just over it,” Rivers told SI. He said the team began to experience morale issues leading up to the trade. “We were winning games, and, every town we went to, we were talking about Ben. I don’t know if we could have gotten through the second half of the season with that hanging over our heads. I was praying something happened.”

As for Joel Embiid, the Sixers MVP candidate, and formerly Simmons' running-mate, he also grew tired of hearing about Simmons' desire to end their partnership and leave Philly. 

I was pissed off. There were so many times that I thought I’d really lose it.

Finally, after months of posturing on both sides, as Simmons sat out the entire season claiming he was "mentally unready to play", a trade was executed, and Simmons was shipped to Brooklyn at the trade deadline, along with Seth Curry and Andre Drummond, in return for James Harden. 

Now, with the playoffs just a couple of weeks away, we'll see if Rivers' prayers end in a championship run. 

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports