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Kendrick Perkins Has Harsh Message For Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons reacting to a call during a game.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 21: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Wells Fargo Center on November 21, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Amid Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons staying away from the team and reportedly not planning to return, ESPN's Kendrick Perkins has a message for the NBA All-Star.

On Wednesday's edition of First Take, Perkins accused Simmons of being "afraid" of returning to the Wells Fargo Center to face the fans. He believes that Simmons is scared of having to hear the crowd boo him and silence his critics with his play.

"He's scared! And it's not because of basketball... He's afraid to face the crowd. He's afraid to step in that arena and hear those boo's and [have to] silence the critics," Perkins said.

It's no secret that the relationship between Simmons and the 76ers fanbase is weaker than it's ever been. His historically bad performance in the NBA playoffs turned a lot of fans into doubters, and a lot of doubters into outright haters.

But the Philadelphia 76ers have balked at outright trading Ben Simmons. They haven't fielded any notable offers for the three-time NBA All-Star despite all kinds of rumors that a divorce was imminent this past summer.

Now the two sides appear to be at an impasse. Simmons has shown no signs of wanting to return to the team, while the 76ers don't seem inclined to trade him. Not for anything less than a king's ransom at least.

But if fan treatment is really a factor as Kendrick Perkins thinks it is, Ben Simmons might find it hard to have his cake and eat it too. Anywhere he goes where he may be the main attraction will require him to come up big in the playoffs.

Is fear of the fans a big enough reason for Simmons to avoid returning to the 76ers?