Ben Simmons has been absent from the Philadelphia 76ers squad since the start of this season. After a dramatic saga between the two sides that started in the offseason and spilled into the first month of the regular season, Simmons has stayed away from the team as he tries to find his way out of the team.
One of the biggest reasons that Simmons wanted to leave the 76ers was because he felt that the franchise showed him less respect compared to fellow All-Star Joel Embiid. Embiid himself was equally frustrated with Simmons, even coming out and saying he did not want to talk about him.
But after Simmons revealed to the team that he was struggling with his mental health, Embiid seemingly had a change of heart, asking the 76ers fans to show Simmons support as he tries to get better. However, he did throw the occasional barb at Simmons, especially when praising the 76ers' young point guard Tyrese Maxey.
Perhaps Embiid has had yet another change of heart, as he surprisingly praised Ben Simmons once again recently. While speaking about his excellent run of form this season, Embiid noted that he has more freedom with the ball now than before because when Simmons was around, he was so good with the ball that getting it to him in transition was the most prudent and obvious option for the 76ers.
“This year I have more freedom to be able to whether bring the ball up or pushing up in transition. The previous year, we had someone that was so good in transition that you had to get the ball to him.”
Perhaps Embiid's stance towards Simmons has softened. Or perhaps, it is a thinly veiled shot at Simmons being given the ball-handling responsibilities for the 76ers. But it appears that Embiid is speaking kindly when it comes to Simmons, maybe in an attempt to mend fences and bring him back into the team.
76ers' president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has said that Simmons could be with the team even after the trade deadline. There is no clear indication of what will happen next in the Ben Simmons saga. But with the deadline approaching, this will be a topic to keep an eye on.