Ben Simmons says things got so nasty between him and the 76ers ... that at the height of their tension, it felt like everyone in the org. was "just trying to f*** with me now."
Simmons finally opened up about his breakup with Philly on JJ Redick's "The Old Man and the Three"podcast ... and he said during the worst part of their relationship back in Oct. 2021, he thought multiple high-ranking people in the franchise, including head coach Doc Rivers, were out to get him.
"I actually spoke to Doc before practice," Simmons said when recalling the infamous fall workout that he was booted from and later suspended over. "I was like, 'Doc, I'm not ready. Mentally, I'm not ready. Please, just understand that.'"
"I tried to let him know prior," Simmons continued. "He was like, 'Well, I'm going to put you in any way.'"
Simmons said early on in the practice, Rivers put him on the floor. Predictably, Simmons didn't handle it well, and Rivers kicked him out. The Sixers later banned him 1 game for it all.
He said it was just one of a few things the Sixers did that month that had rubbed him the wrong way.
"It seems like everyone's just trying to f*** with me now," Simmons said, recalling the events. "Like, I'm getting fined for not lifting weights, but, physically, I'm like one of the strongest guys on the f***ing team."
"So they're fining me for little things. It was just a buildup."
Simmons did admit "obviously I didn't handle things the right way, but also the team didn't either and the people who had that power."
"For me, I was trying to -- for myself, personally -- get to a good place," Simmons said of all the drama. "To get back on the floor. Getting on the floor was my priority and trying to get myself to a place where I was mentally good to do that."
"And I was in such a bad place where I was like, 'F***. Like, I'm trying to get here and you guys are, like, throwing all these other things at me to where you're not helping.' That's all I wanted was help."
Simmons did not play for the Nets following the trade -- and he eventually underwent back surgery in May. He's expected to be ready to play for Brooklyn this season.