NBA new 2021: Ben Simmons shoved out the door by Philadelphia 76ers teammate Joel Embiid
After being publicly torched by his star teammate, the chances of Ben Simmons playing for Philadelphia again are looking very slim.
Ben Simmons just got pushed out the door of the Philadelphia 76ers by his teammate.
That’s the verdict of NBA experts and former players after star centre Joel Embiid publicly torched him, burning any possible bridge remaining between Simmons and the Sixers.
Following his horror showing in the playoffs, Simmons asked to be traded and is reportedly willing to sit out for the entire season if a trade can’t be facilitated.
Watch Live Coverage of the 21/22 NBA Season with ESPN on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start Your Free Trial >
NBA pundits have come down hard on Simmons for trying to get out of his contract with the 76ers because of the heavy criticism he copped for his poor shooting in their playoffs loss to Atlanta last season.
But Simmons has made up his mind — he wants out of Philly. It’s been reported he won’t suit up for the franchise again and is willing to be fined and suspended for sitting out pre-season camp.
His relationship with Embiid is also in dire straits.
Earlier this week Sam Amick of The Athletic reported Simmons doesn’t want to share the court with the Sixers’ All-Star centre anymore, believing the pair can’t coexist with their similar styles of play because they hinder rather than help each other.
Embiid hit back, saying Philadelphia has changed the team over the years specifically to suit Simmons’ needs, including signing players like Al Horford and getting rid of Jimmy Butler — which Embiid believes was a mistake.
The Cameroonian giant said Simmons doesn’t have any right to complain about Philly not doing enough to help him when they stacked the team with shooters to compensate for his biggest weakness.
“I feel like over the years, our team has been built around (Simmons),” Embiid said.
“Our teams have always been built around his needs.
“Even going back to the reason we signed Al, we got rid of Jimmy, which I still think was a mistake, just to make sure he (Simmons) needed the ball in his hands and that’s the decision they made.
“The situation is disappointing, borderline kind of disrespectful to all the guys that are out here fighting for their lives.
“Some guys rely on the team being successful to stay in the league and make money somehow. Because if you’re on a winning team, you’re always going to have a spot in the league, just because you’re on a winning team and you contributed.
“We are a better team with him, there’s no question about it. We still hope he changes his mind, but I kind of owe it to these guys to worry about what we have here.”
NBA pundits have weighed in on the saga and believe Embiid’s latest comments have only worsened the rift between the two camps and make it all but impossible for Simmons to return and play for Philadelphia again.
“Joel Embiid spending time talking about this and creating another distraction is another win today for Ben Simmons,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on The Jump.
“The way this gets settled for Ben Simmons is if the status quo becomes uncomfortable for the Sixers, every single day that Ben Simmons distracts from what Sixers are doing, becomes something that’s a problem, it pushes the sixers closer to making a trade.
“Joel Embiid expressing this frustration, Doc Rivers having to answer for a quote he gave back in June, all of these things are the reason a hold out works.
“Today ring one up in the Ben Simmons column because the Sixers had to spend time away worrying about it.
“He’s probably frustrated.
“He pretty much threw (Simmons) under the bus and blamed Jimmy Butler’s departure on him today.
“On Monday at media day you could tell there was a unified front for Ben to come back and Joel was on board with that. But you could tell today that he was wavering from that.”
Former NBA star Kendrick Perkinsargued Embiid’s airing of dirty laundry sends a strong signal the “marriage” between the Sixers and Simmons is well and truly over.
“It’s more so about Embiid,” he told The Jump.
“For the Sixers it’s about making sure Embiid is happy. He just finalised to the world today this marriage is over. Divorce papers have been served.
“Now Embiid has said, ‘Cool, we’ll move on if you if you don’t want to play with us, we are not going to beg you’.
“He’s not hiding, he’s coming out and saying how he feels. He’s not just speaking up for himself but he’s speaking up for the majority of the guys in that locker room.”
Although his comments pushed Simmons further out the door in Philadelphia, many praised Embiid for his refreshing honesty and said his assessment of the saga hit the nail on the head.
“Frankly, it’s hard to find much wrong in what he said,” Philly Voice reporter Kyle Neubeck wrote.
“Embiid has repeatedly said they want him back and are better with him, and then steps up to the mic to deliver a borderline State of the Union address on why claims from Simmons’ camp are bogus.
“Everyone already appears to be fed up with the situation, and we haven’t even reached October yet, nor has Simmons made the appearance many with the team have insisted will come at some point.”
“I’m sure people are going to say, ‘You can’t talk about your teammate that way’,” Doug Gottlieb told Fox Sports radio.
“I didn’t think there was anything terribly negative only in that the way in which he’s going about it does take away from the guys they currently have on the team.
“That’s fair, that’s where the disrespectful part comes in.
“But I actually didn’t think anything was inaccurate or mean spirited or even negative towards Ben.
“He said what we did was to put the ball in Ben’s hands even more and space the floor with shooters and it still didn’t work, which is fair. I didn’t think he was unfair at all.
“That’s what Embiid was saying … we acquiesced to everything and the guy’s still unhappy. What are we doing here?”