Earlier this week, a report came out related to the seemingly never-ending saga that is Ben Simmons’ efforts to play his next basketball game with a team that is not the Philadelphia 76ers. According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Simmons is of the belief that playing alongside Joel Embiid is no longer tenable, and while there is no personal animosity on his end towards the reigning MVP runner-up, Simmons thinks the two just can’t coexist on the basketball court.
While Doc Rivers apparently had a plan to try and stagger their minutes more and let Simmons play in a role reminiscent to that of Giannis Antetokounmpo — ball in his hands, surrounded by shooting, let him attack the rim and make decisions from there — it apparently did not pique his interest. Amid all of this, Embiid has spoken a few times, but on Thursday, he brought a level of candidness about the whole situation that has been rare.
Embiid met with the media and gave a lengthy answer about Simmons’ apparent gripe about how he fits. The All-Star center posited that the team has largely been built around the skill set of his soon-to-be former teammate, why he believes getting rid of Jimmy Butler was “a mistake,” how the situation as a whole has impacted the locker room, and fact that, despite all of this, the team wants to bring Simmons back.
Joel Embiid, who does note the Sixers are better with Ben Simmons around, says today that report suggesting they’re not a fit together is “borderline disrespectful” to other guys on the team in a wide-ranging answer pic.twitter.com/UUeu5xtNAK
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) September 30, 2021
Whether Embiid is correct or not can (and will be) discussed, but with how this entire situation has played out — players, coaches, etc. in Philly making clear they want Simmons back, reports indicating he has no interest that happen, no real traction on a trade appearing to exist — it’s a bit eyebrow raising that Embiid decided to be this forthright about the current state of affairs with the franchise. Perhaps this will lead to some sort of escalation regarding Simmons’ exit, but probably not.