As the NBA prepares for the launch of a brand-new season, the Philadelphia 76ers are still dealing with the fallout from the last.
Their defeat in the Eastern Semis did not just spell the end of their 2021 title hopes, it also spelled the end of Ben Simmons' desire to remain with the team.
The result has been months of speculation, rumor, and drama, as Simmons has made it very clear he never intends to play another game for the 76ers again.
With all of the nonsense still fresh on everyone's minds, Simmons' teammate, Joel Embiid, finally spoke truthfully about the whole ordeal, speaking boldly to put the whole situation (and the way in which Simmons has handled it) on blast.
The situation is weird, disappointing, borderline kind of disrespectful to all the 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 going to have a spot in the league just because you’re on a winning team and you contributed. Obviously we’re a better team with him. We’re not a better team without him, that’s for sure.
We’re trying to get better. Trying to get on the same agenda. We know what we got to do, and every single day we got to try to attack it. … But we are a better team with him. There’s no question about it. We still hope that he changes his mind, but I kind of owe it to these guys to just worry about what we have here. To figure out what’s going to happen [with Simmons], is not my job. I’m not the GM, I’m not the owner, so that’s none of my business.
If there was any doubt that the situation was unsalvageable, this should clear it up. Judging by Embiid's statement, and the candor with which he spoke, it seems impossible that they will ever take the court together again.
Still, it's hard not to understand where Embiid is coming from here. As Ben tries so desperately to get out of Philadelphia, he has (seemingly) shown no care in the world about how it might affect his teammates.
At this point, it's better for everyone if they just move on.