The Ben Simmons trade rumors just got dialed up to 11 after the three-time All-Star reportedly requested a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday. While it has been reported over the past few months that Simmons’ time with the Sixers was coming to a close, this is the most definitive notion of that, after he told the team he wouldn’t be attending training camp in an effort to force a trade to another team, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Although Simmons wants out, there hasn’t been any trades that have materialized yet. But that hasn’t stopped the potential landing spots from being analyzed. However, as reports come out of the woodworks to describe the situation with Simmons and the Sixers, which has been painted as deteriorating since the team’s second-round playoff exit against the Atlanta Hawks, Sixers superstar Joel Embiid is here to silence some of that reporting.
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Embiid took to Twitter Wednesday morning to dispute a report from Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today in which detailed a “rift” between Embiid and Simmons, forcing the Sixers to choose a side. Embiid said in part:
“Stop using my name to push people’s agendas. I love and hate drama. I love playing with Ben. Stats don’t lie. He’s an amazing player and we didn’t get the job done. It’s on me personally. I hope everyone is back cuz we know we’re good enough to win.”
Embiid wouldn’t be the first player to downplay any sort of drama that exists between him and a teammate on social media, but there’s also no reason to not believe him, either. With everything that’s been reported about Simmons, a supposed rift between him and Embiid hasn’t been played up as much as Simmons taking issue with a comment head coach Doc Rivers made following Game 7 against the Hawks.
When asked if Simmons was qualified to be a championship-level point guard, Rivers said, “I don’t know the answer to that right now.” Couple that with being made the scapegoat for the Sixers’ failure in the postseason, and the trade rumors that were floating around dating back to when James Harden was on the trade table, and you can see why Simmons would want out of Philadelphia.
But Embiid is showing support for his fellow teammate on social media, drawing from his own experience with criticism from media and Philly fans, who he said needs to do better.
“I haven’t forgotten but 2 years ago, I got booed, people in Philly wanted me to be traded,” Embiid tweeted. “I even shushed them. Only the real ones didn’t but I just put the work in that offseason to be better cuz I knew I wasn’t playing up to my potential. Philly fans, y’all also gotta be better.”
Embiid then followed that tweet up by saying, “For clarity, I love the criticism, I love when I’m told I can’t do something. It makes me work harder to prove everyone wrong but not everyone is built like that.”
Well, now that last tweet could be viewed as somewhat of a dig at Simmons for not being “built like that,” but it could also just be a generalization about how he handles criticism. Either way, the situation in Philadelphia looks incredibly murky right now, and we’ll have to wait to see if the Sixers are able to grant Simmons’ trade request or if this saga will carry into the regular season.