Joel Embiid Disappointed With Ben Simmons Situation After Guard Rejects Visit
Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid has said he’s disappointed with the situation surrounding teammate Ben Simmons. The Australian point guard has informed the team that he wants to be traded and will not report to training camp, which begins on Tuesday.
Persons in the front office, as well as the coaching staff, want Simmons back and are said to have “lots of hope” over having him suit up for the team next season. The guard was blamed by both Embiid and head coach Doc Rivers after the Sixers were booted from the playoffs last term and their comments evidently did not go down well.
On Monday, Embiid confirmed that a planned trip to visit the disgruntled star was rebuffed, with himself and other teammates having made plans to visit Simmons in Los Angeles. Embiid admitted he’s disappointed as he knows how good he and Simmons could be together.
“Honestly, I’m disappointed,” the Cameroonian said. “In the regular season, we’ve been so good and so dominant that we know it’s working. It’s about taking the next step and everyone playing up to their potential. To (be) able to win is hard.”
He also denied calling Simmons out on the back of the Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Simmons was unwilling to take key shots during the series with the Hawks and also drew plenty of ire from all around on the back of his poor shooting from the charity stripe. The former No.1 overall NBA Draft pick made just 34.2 percent from the line, going 25 of 73 in 12 postseason contests, having shot 61.3 percent during the regular season.
Embiid did point that out but, on Monday, said he had no regrets and was simply stating facts.
“I don’t have any regrets because I didn’t call out anybody,” he said. “I just stated the facts. I’m honest and I can’t lie. I don’t feel like I put anybody in a bad situation where they had to feel bad.”
The center is reported to be ready to go after being bothered by an injury during the playoff series with Atlanta. The Athletic cites a source who says the player is a “full go” and will have a normal preseason load. The uncertainty over Ben Simmons’s future has the Sixers far from the favorites in the NBA picks. Philly is 20/1 to win the NBA championship at the end of the 2021/22 season, with the Brooklyn Nets the outright favorites at 12/5.
Simmons, meanwhile, has remained intransigent over his demand to be traded but Rivers and GM Daryl Morey are hopeful all parties could find common ground.
“Clearly not an easy situation but it’s easy individually,” the head coach said. “We’re going to focus on who’s here with hopes that we do have Ben at some point. It’s tough to play here. Ben didn’t say that. I can’t say he said that. That’s just an assumption.”
Morey, who spoke to Simmons well over a month ago said, “We have a lot of optimism we can make it work. He is a great player and I expect him back. We expect him to be a 76er.”
The 76ers picked Simmons at No.1 in the 2016 NBA Draft but he was unable to play immediately, sitting out his first season with a foot injury. In four seasons since then, the point guard has averaged 15.9 points, 7.7 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per game. Last season saw him record career lows. of 14.3 points, 6.9 assists, and 7.2 rebounds a game.
Former NBA center Kwame Brown, now a popular voice on social media, has advised Simmons to go to training camp, warning him of the impact not attending could have on his money and on his career. It’s unlikely the Australian will listen as his relationship with the organization has soured to the point where he wants absolutely nothing to do with the team.
“We’re not going to give up on that,” Rivers said on ESPN’s First Take last week. “You know how I feel about Ben…I’ve always defended him, I just love how he plays, I love a lot of the things that he does for our team. Unfortunately, we focus so much on his offense and we don’t focus on a lot of other things he does. Ben’s been under a lot of pressure in Philadelphia, we know that. Having said that, we were one game away from the Eastern Finals last year. No one picked us to be where we were at. And so I look at last year as the first step, not the last step…we have to go through all of this to get him back, there’s no doubt about that.”