The latest from NBA media day on Monday (All times EDT)
As expected, Ben Simmons will not report to the Philadelphia 76ers when they open training camp on Tuesday.
Team President Daryl Morey said there’s still hope Simmons will return at some point to the Sixers. Coach Doc Rivers said no one has defended Simmons more than he has and will enter camp “with hopes that we do have Ben at some point.”
Simmons, the No. 1 pick of the 2016 draft and a three-time All-Star, requested a trade in the offseason. He took the brunt of the blame for the top-seeded Sixers’ second-round exit in last season’s playoffs. He shot 34% from the free-throw line in the postseason and was reluctant to attempt a shot from anywhere on the floor late in games. That led to him spending critical minutes on the bench.
Simmons has $147 million and four years left on his contract. Simmons could be suspended or fined each day he misses camp.
New Celtics coach Ime Udoka has a breakthrough case of COVID-19 and participated in the team’s media day on Monday through Zoom.
Celtics spokesman Christian Megliola said the coach, who is vaccinated, was asymptomatic and in the last day of his 10-day quarantine. Udoka is expected to be in person with the team when training camp starts on Tuesday, Megliola said.
Pacers coach Rick Carlisle says his new team has a “very high” vaccination rate but declined to give a specific number because of privacy concerns.
He did say Monday that all members of the coaching staff are fully vaccinated.
Training camps open Tuesday and the pandemic will affect a third NBA season and already means some players will be missing on media day.
The Pacers already have lost backup guard Edmond Sumner, who had surgery last week to repair a torn Achilles tendon and will likely open the season without starting forward T.J. Warren who continues to recover from a stress fracture in his left foot that cost him most of last season.
“Hopefully, it will be weeks, not months,” Carlisle said. “It won’t be days.”