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Simmons sighting but no NBA return yet

There was a Ben Simmons sighting but Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers says that was no indication of an imminent return for the maligned NBA All-Star.

Simmons has missed the 76ers’ 4-2 start to the season due to personal reasons, the 25-year-old in limbo after being unable to secure an off-season trade and then suspended for the season opener after a training spat.

The 76ers trounced Atlanta 122-94 in the first meeting between the teams since the Hawks beat top-seeded Philadelphia in seven games in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

The Sixers’ Game 7 defeat in that series was punctuated by Simmons passing on an open dunk in the final minutes, a flashpoint in the ongoing drama between the point guard and the organisation.

Simmons was spotted on an exercise bike at the 76ers practice facility after shoot-around, but Rivers said there was no time frame for the Australian’s return to on-court team activities.

“I stay out of it,” Rivers said.

“I really do.

“My job is to coach the guys who are here and to believe that the guys that are here will play for us some day. That’s all I have to believe as a coach.

“I try not to get involved as a coach in the clutter.”

Rivers said he has been in contact with Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul from Klutch Sports, on a frequent basis.

However, Rivers described those conversation as more personal in nature than anything connected to Simmons.

Tobias Harris had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Joel Embiid added 19 points and Boomers favourite Matisse Thybulle was everywhere for the victors.

One of six 76ers in double figures, Thybulle swatted one attempted Hawks three-pointer into the stands on his way to 11 points, three rebounds, two assists, four steals and three blocks.

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