In the aftermath of a crushing and embarrassing defeat in the Eastern Semis, the relationship between Ben Simmons and the 76ers finally reached its breaking point.
Now, after weeks of rumor and speculation, the situation in Philadelphia has grown volatile and there's no going back.
In light of everything, one has to wonder what another season with Embiid and Simmons would have looked like under Philly, especially given their underwhelming history together.
Apparently, according to The Ringer, Sixers coach Doc Rivers wanted to use him much like the Bucks have been using Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Rivers shared how he planned to use Simmons this upcoming season anyway: Embiid and Simmons would stagger minutes more often, and when Embiid came off the floor, Simmons would play the 5, sharing the frontcourt with Tobias Harris and new addition Georges Niang. Rivers said he wanted to put Simmons in more situations that resemble Giannis Antetokounmpo’s role in Milwaukee, with four shooters surrounding him, empowering him to be a primary scoring option with the second unit. Rivers and Morey, according to sources, said that Simmons and Embiid are the best defensive duo in basketball, and with some slight tweaks, they could be even more productive on the offensive end.
Simmons doesn't have nearly the size advantage that Giannis does, but their games are compatible in a lot of ways. It would have been interesting to see if a Giannis-like system could have worked for the 76ers.
Unfortunately, Simmons has already given up on trying to make things work with the All-Star big man.
"Yet of all the problem areas to explore, there’s none more unyielding and impossible to ignore than this: People who have intimate knowledge of how he sees this situation continue to insist that he’s done playing with Embiid. There’s nothing personal about this choice, it seems, but the 25-year-old Simmons has clearly decided that his career is better off without Embiid blocking the runways in the paint that he so badly needs to succeed," said Sam Amick of The Athletic.
"As he sees it, sources say, the organization’s choice to build its basketball ecosystem around Embiid’s style simply isn’t conducive to the way he needs to play. So while Embiid insisted to reporters on Monday that he wants Simmons back, this much is clear: The feeling is not mutual."
Together, Embiid and Simmons have failed to live up to expectations -- that much is clear. After four years of trying, and failing, to make things work, it's no mystery why Ben has lost faith.
It's just a shame we'll never get the chance to see how Doc and the coaching staff would have adjusted to one more run.