Joel Embiid on Ben Simmons Rumors: 76ers 'Have Always Been Built Around' PG's Needs

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 30, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons plays during Game 7 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Joel Embiid still wants Ben Simmons back in a Philadelphia 76ers uniform, but it appears his patience is running thin on playing nice.

Embiid called a report that Simmons feels their on-court relationship has run its course "borderline kind of disrespectful" and said the Sixers have long tried build their roster to fit Simmons' game.

"I feel like our team has always been built around his needs," Embiid told reporters Thursday. "[The report] was kind of surprising to see. We'll say that, even going back to the reason we signed Al [Horford], we got rid of Jimmy [Butler], which I still think was a mistake, just to make sure he needed the ball in his hands."

Embiid pointed to his own adjustments he's made to his game, stretching out beyond the three-point line on a regular basis, as one of several concessions the Sixers have made around Simmons. He also pointed out that the team regularly attempted to fill out the rest of the roster with shooters to overcome Simmons' shortcomings in that regard.

Simmons is currently holding out of Sixers' training camp as he attempts to force a trade. Sam Amick of The Athletic reported Simmons feels his partnership with Embiid has run its course and they're not a good basketball fit.

Embiid's quote Thursday was an example of saying the quiet part aloud. The Sixers have made their share of mistakes in the front office—the Horford signing being perhaps the most ghastly—but they've consistently tinkered with the roster in hopes of finding a group that works with Simmons and Embiid.

Simmons' lack of offensive development has torpedoed his trade value and made it clear that he is a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. Embiid, meanwhile, has developed into a 7-foot center who hit threes at a 37.7 percent rate last season. There's an obvious answer to who the "problem" is insomuch as one exists.

As Embiid repeatedly said later in the press conference, the Sixers are a far better team with Simmons on their roster. He's perhaps the NBA's best defender, a menace who can capably defend all five positions on the floor. His passing vision in the open court is second to none. 

But Embiid isn't incorrect in saying it's "borderline kind of disrespectful" for Simmons to be the one forcing the end of this marriage.