Joel Embiid ‘disappointed’ with Ben Simmons
Philadelphia 76ers megastar Joel Embiid said Monday that he’s “disappointed” with Ben Simmons while team brass expressed “lots of hope” for bringing back their disgruntled point guard.
Simmons, 25, reportedly informed the team last month that he wants to be traded and will not report to training camp, which starts Tuesday.
The Sixers and Simmons appeared headed for a sour parting after Simmons received blame from coach Doc Rivers and Embiid following the team’s ouster from the playoffs in June.
Embiid on Monday confirmed reports that he and other 76ers players were rebuffed by Simmons in their attempt to visit him in Los Angeles.
“Honestly, I’m disappointed,” Embiid said when asked what he’d say to Simmons. “In the regular season, we’ve been so good and so dominant that we know it’s working. It’s about taking the next step and everyone playing up to their potential. To (be) able to win is hard.”
Embiid addressed the criticism of Simmons following their Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
“I don’t have any regrets because I didn’t call out anybody,” Embiid said. “I just stated the facts. I’m honest and I can’t lie. I don’t feel like I put anybody in a bad situation where they had to feel bad.”
Simmons’ inability — or unwillingness — to take shots proved costly during the series with the Hawks. He also drew criticism for his performance at the foul line. He made just 34.2 percent of his attempts (25 of 73) in 12 playoff games after shooting 61.3 percent during the regular season.
However, Rivers and general manager Daryl Morey expressed hope that reconciliation can happen. Morey said he spoke with Simmons nearly seven weeks ago.
“We have a lot of optimism we can make it work,” Morey said. He “is a great player and expect him back. We expect him to be a 76er.”
Said Rivers: “Clearly not an easy situation but it’s easy individually. We’re going to focus on who’s here with hopes that we do have Ben at some point.
“It’s tough to play here,” Rivers said. “Ben didn’t say that. I can’t say he said that. That’s just an assumption.”
The 76ers made Simmons the No. 1 overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. He sat out his first campaign with a foot injury, but in 275 games over four seasons, he is averaging 15.9 points, 7.7 assists and 8.1 rebounds. His 2020-21 averages — 14.3 points, 6.9 assists and 7.2 rebounds — were career lows.
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