At this point, it’s not exactly a secret that Ben Simmons, who holds the dubious distinction of being one of the best defenders in the NBA while also being its most reluctant shooter, wants no parts of the Philadelphia 76ers.
While the growing schism between the proud NBA franchise and its two-time All-Star has been one of the worst-kept secrets throughout the league for years, shit officially hit the fan after the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals—a series that the 76ers lost, in part, due to Simmons’ outright refusal to shoot the ball.
Fast forward to October, and the relationship between Simmons and 76ers has only spiraled further out of control, with the 25-year-old not only demanding a trade in September but refusing to meet with teammates in their futile bid to talk him off the ledge. So with training camp officially underway, after playing the good soldier for years, ESPN reports that his superstar teammate, Joel Embiid, is apparently fed up with Simmons’ shit. And for the first time ever, he’s finally more than willing to say what we’ve all been thinking about their tenure together out loud.
“The situation is disappointing, borderline kind of disrespectful to all the guys that are out here fighting for their lives,” Embiid told reporters of Simmons’ absence at training camp.
He was also asked about Simmons’ reported belief that the 76ers’ roster and gameplan were a poor fit that didn’t properly utilize its 6-foot-10 point guard’s talents. You know, the same 6-foot-10 point guard who refuses to shoot the ball anywhere outside of 8 inches from the basket.
“I feel like over the years the way our team has been built, you look at last year, the whole starting lineup—I was the worst three-point shooter [other than Ben Simmons] in the starting lineup, and I shot 38 percent from three,” Embiid said. “We’ve always had shooters, and I feel like I can really play with anybody. I can make anybody better on the court. I don’t necessarily need shooters, but I feel like over the years, you look, like, when we signed Al [Horford], it’s because we needed a stretch five, just to make sure that was—most of my career, I’ve had to kind of step out to the three-point line, which I don’t mind. I like to be a basketball player, I like to do everything on the basketball court. But I feel like our teams have been built, whether it’s the shooting needed or a stretch five and all that stuff, I feel like he’s always had it here.”
Translation: “We’ve done everything humanly possible to accommodate this ungrateful asshole, even sacrificing my own development as a vastly superior player along the way, and he wants to demand a trade?! The fuck?!”
Embiid was also kind enough to openly reflect on the team’s 2019 offseason, in which the 76ers chased perennial All-Star Jimmy Butler out of town in order to keep the ball in Simmons’ hands.
“I feel like our teams have always been built around his needs,” he said. “I mean, the reason we signed Al [Horford], we got rid of Jimmy [Butler], which I still think was a mistake, just to make sure—[Ben] needed the ball in his hands, and that’s the decision they made. Like I said, it is surprising.”
Translation: “Do you know what type of players we brought in and got rid of just to keep your ass happy!? Two perennial All-Stars! And now you want a trade?!”
But after venting his frustrations, Embiid was still kind enough to admit that he believes the 76ers are a stronger team with Simmons in the fold.
“We are a better team with him, there’s no question about it,” he said. “We still hope he changes his mind, but I kind of owe it to these guys to worry about what we have here.”
Translation: “We can’t get rid of that dude soon enough but I wish he would’ve made his trade demand earlier this offseason instead of screwing us over with the season about to begin.”
For those wondering if Simmons gives a shit about any of the frustrations his (former?) teammates are harboring, I would ask him, but apparently he’s too busy liking posts on Instagram about how much money the 76ers can fine him for missing regular games and practices while he holds out for a trade.