Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid opened up this week about the saga involving Ben Simmons.
Simmons, according to multiple reports, wants out from the 76ers after a disappointing performance in the playoffs. The Athletic reported that Embiid, Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle were set to meet with Simmons in Los Angeles with hopes of changing his mind, but the Australian point guard rebuffed their idea.
The Simmons drama is a cloud hanging over Philadelphia as the 2021-22 season nears the start. Embiid told the Philadelphia Inquirer he believes their relationship has "run its course."
"The situation is weird, disappointing, borderline kind of disrespectful to other guys that are out here fighting for their lives. Some guys rely on the team to be successful to stay in the league and make money somehow. Because if you’re on a winning team, you’re always gonna have a spot in the league, just because you’re on a winning team and you contributed," Embiid told the newspaper.
"We are a better team with him. There’s no question about it. We still hope that he changes his mind [and rejoins the team], but I kind of owe it to these guys to just worry about what we have here. That’s the front office’s job to kind of figure it out, what’s gonna happen. That’s not my job. I’m not the GM. I’m not the owner. So that’s none of my business, honestly."
Embiid said he was "disappointed" Simmons requested a trade.
Embiid and Simmons were the two major pieces of the so-called "process" the 76ers were going through for a few consecutive seasons. Both players started their NBA careers with injuries but both players have been key to their small success.
The 76ers have made the playoffs four consecutive seasons but have not made it past the Eastern Conference semifinals.
A change might be good for both parties, but unloading Simmons’ contract is going to be tough. He signed a five-year, $177.2 million deal in July 2019. He’s owed $33 million this season with his salary only increasing through the 2024-25 season.