Ben Simmons may not be getting shipped out of Philly after all, 'cause Sixers head coach Doc Rivers tells TMZ Sports he absolutely LOVES the hooper ... and wants him to stay put.
Of course, there's speculation the 24-year-old could be traded this offseason ... after Philly got booted from the playoffs in the Eastern Conference semifinals for the third time in four seasons.
Simmons was heavily criticized for his play throughout the playoffs after going 34% from the charity stripe ... and many believe the guy has to put in some serious work on his shot in the offseason.
On top of that, Simmons was ripped for passing up on a potential game-tying dunk late in Game 7 against the Hawks.
But, Doc is having none of that talk ... giving nothing but high praise for the former #1 overall pick.
"Ben's great," Rivers told us in Beverly Hills this week. "I want him back. He's terrific. He'll be great."
"I think he doesn't need a lot of fixing. He's gonna be great for us. He'll be great."
While Rivers is voicing his support for Simmons, it doesn't mean a trade won't go down ... but it's nice to see the coach stick with his guy.
We also had to ask about the Clippers' recent playoff run ... and Rivers has nothing but positive words for coach Ty Lue.