Shooting guard Jonathon Simmons was forced to leave the San Antonio Spurs and sign with the Orlando Magic due to an alleged rift with head coach Gregg Popovich, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Spears, in an interview on ESPN’s “The Jump”, revealed that Simmons and Popovich did not get along particularly well, especially towards the end of last season.

According to Spears, he heard some rumblings that Simmons and Popovich weren’t the best of friends.

He said that Popovich resented Simmons’ showboating, including dunking and staring at opponents. In addition, Simmons felt he was a little handcuffed while playing under Popovich, forcing him to bolt the Spurs and join the Magic via free agency.

Simmons agreed to a three-year deal worth $20 million with the Magic, one day after he was renounced by the Spurs. Simmons was originally a restricted free agent but he requested the Spurs that he be allowed to become an unrestricted free agent. Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express News said Simmons was elated with his new deal with the Magic, saying his decision was purely “business”.

Simmons made it to NBA via Spurs’ D-League squad

The 27-year-old Simmons made it to the NBA via the Spurs’ D-League Team in Austin where he paid $15o to join the tryout. He spent two seasons with the Spurs, averaging 6.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game in 133 outings. During last year’s playoffs, Simmons increased his scoring to 10.5 points per game after Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker were sidelined by injuries. Simmons is also an outstanding defender, ranking eighth among shooting guards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus during the 2016-17 season.

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Other player who feuded with Popovich

Four years ago, the Spurs released Stephen Jackson despite being an asset off the bench for the organization. After he was released, Jackson hinted that a feud with Popovich led to his departure. In an interview with Sister 2 Sister Magazine, Jackson said Popovich wanted him to admit that some players are better than him, alluding to Danny Green and Manu Ginoboli, and the veteran didn’t agree.

Jackson explained recently that he insisted on playing ahead of Ginobili, who he described as “playing like trash at the time, turning the ball over all over the place.” Jackson and Popovich recently buried the hatchet, with the former heaping praises on his former coach “saying on The Rich Eisen Show that he made me understand “how to be a professional”

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