Trail Blazers

Report: Simmons thinks career is 'better off' without Embiid

Trail Blazers

None of the remarks at Sixers media day were persuasive to Ben Simmons, The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported Tuesday morning.

“It should surprise no one that their messages fell flat when they reached the Simmons camp,” Amick writes. “If anything, it only added to the agitation.”

Amick cites Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey’s assertion that “there’s a lot of hope” for reconciliation with Simmons as being viewed as “laughable and out of touch.”

Indeed, it would’ve been a stunning development if anything said at media day spurred Simmons to scrap his planned holdout. Day 1 of training camp is Tuesday.

One interesting nugget from Amick’s story is Simmons’ perspective on his pairing with Joel Embiid. Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

“People who have intimate knowledge of how he sees this situation continue to insist that he’s done playing with Embiid. There’s nothing personal about this choice, it seems, but the 25-year-old Simmons has clearly decided that his career is better off without Embiid blocking the runways in the paint that he so badly needs to succeed.

“As he sees it, sources say, the organization’s choice to build its basketball ecosystem around Embiid’s style simply isn’t conducive to the way he needs to play. So while Embiid insisted to reporters on Monday that he wants Simmons back, this much is clear: The feeling is not mutual.”

 

It’s not difficult to outline the other side of the story here. Embiid is an MVP runner-up with an enormous two-way impact, so it’s sensible to care most about him when constructing a team. And, though their efforts have sometimes been flawed, the Sixers have done plenty in trying to enhance and accommodate Simmons’ game. There have been exceptions — the failed "bully ball" experiment of the 2019-20 campaign and the unsuccessful attempts last season to use Dwight Howard next to Simmons come to mind — but the Sixers have generally aimed to emphasize transition offense and outside shooting in lineups with Simmons. 

Thoughts from Simmons himself would, of course, be most illuminating on this issue.

As for Embiid, he said Monday he was “disappointed” by the present situation.

“It’s been time to take the next step,” he said, “and I hope that he really changes his mind. If I didn’t like playing with him, I’m honest, I would say it. But I do love playing with him, because he adds so much to our team. We’ve been building this thing around us. 

“I don’t see it as ‘This is my team.’ I don’t care. I don’t care about any of that. That has nothing to do with me. I’m not trying to live in the spotlight. I’ve got my family, I’m private — that’s not me. I’m trying to play basketball and have fun.”