Report: Ben Simmons No Longer Wants to Play with Joel Embiid Amid 76ers Trade Rumors

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 28, 2021

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 28: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers look on during a game on April 28, 2021 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Part of Ben Simmons' desire to leave the Philadelphia 76ers reportedly has to do with his no longer wanting to play alongside All-Star center Joel Embiid.

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Simmons believes his style of play doesn't mesh with Embiid, who is the dominant force for Philadelphia in the paint.

Amick noted that while there is "nothing personal" about Simmons wanting to part ways with Embiid, the point guard "has clearly decided that his career is better off without Embiid blocking the runways in the paint that he so badly needs to succeed."

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported last week that Simmons has no plans to report to Sixers training camp and does not intend to play for the organization ever again.

Subsequently, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers appeared on ESPN's First Take and confirmed that Simmons has asked to be traded, although he expressed hope that the two sides will be able to work things out.

Embiid is also holding out hope for reconciliation between Simmons and the Sixers, telling reporters Monday: "I really hope he changes his mind. I do love playing with him because he adds so much to our team. We've been building this team around us. I don't see it as 'This is my team'. I don't care about any of that."

While Embiid may not view the Sixers as "his team," the numbers suggest that he is the go-to guy and franchise player.

The 7-footer has been named an All-Star in each of the past four seasons, and he is coming off the best season of his career. Embiid averaged 28.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.4 blocks in 51 games, and he finished as the MVP runner-up behind Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.

He also performed at a high level during the playoffs, averaging 28.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 blocks in 11 games.

Despite that, the top-seeded Sixers were ousted by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round, marking yet another disappointing end to a season for a team that has had championship aspirations for the past few years.

Simmons was undoubtedly viewed as the primary scapegoat for Philly's early playoff exit last season, as he averaged only 11.9 points per game and shot 34.2 percent from the free-throw line during the postseason. He also shied away from taking shots late in games during the Atlanta series, instead choosing to defer to Embiid and others.

Despite his issues during the playoffs, the 25-year-old Simmons still brings plenty to the table.

The Aussie is a three-time All-Star and boasts solid career averages of 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals. He is also an elite defender, as evidenced by his second-place finish in the NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting last season.

In terms of roster makeup, Philadelphia may not be the place for Simmons, as the Sixers already have a dominant post player in Embiid and don't have many great outside shooters.

Simmons has made a grand total of five career three-pointers, which says it all about where he needs to be offensively to be effective.

If Simmons can force a trade to a team that has quality shooting and needs more of an offensive presence in the paint, it could go a long way toward getting him on track.

The Sixers are under no obligation to grant his trade request, though, as Simmons is under contract through the 2024-25 season.