Jason Smith: "You're a coach, you always need to protect your players. But all he did by saying that (he wasn't sure if Simmons would return next season) was make Ben Simmons draw a line in the sand, and, even if you know you want to get rid of him, you have hurt your negotiating position, because eventually he is going to say he wants out. And when a player wants out, then teams are going to wait you out, and teams are not going to give you the offer they should. Doc Rivers ruined everything with that comment. He ruined the relationship with Ben Simmons. He ruined his time with the 76ers, and he ruined whatever value in a trade they can get. Now they have to scramble to get something good, and with Ben Simmons throwing the gauntlet down, you have to move on from him. This is Doc Rivers who put it right here, where we are, and all he did was make the situation worse. When honestly as a coach, you have to protect your guy publicly, but instead he felt the reason to have to say 'I don't know the answer,' because he didn't want to take any blame for losing the series."
Jason Smith and Mike Harmon believe Doc Rivers forced Ben Simmons out of Philadelphia due to his lack of faith in Simmons in the playoffs this past year. The guys revisit Rivers' postgame comments at the end of the 76ers' postseason run, where Rivers indicated uncertainty over Simmons returning to the team the following season, and point to this as the exact moment where Simmons lost a desire to play in Philadelphia. Jason explains why this follows a pattern of issues from Doc Rivers, where he consistently refuses to accept responsibility for mistakes.