Joel Embiid Says He Hopes Ben Simmons Returns To 76ers, As Trade Rumors Swirl

There is no telling what is next for Ben Simmons and the 76ers. But for starters, he was a no-show for media day, just as it was expected.Ben Simmons

In fact, Simmons reportedly is holding out of training camp until the 76ers are able to find a trade.

But Simmons’ teammates are holding out hope that he changes his mind.

“Of course, we want him back,” star center Joel Embiid said. “He’s a big piece of what we’ve been doing the past few years.”

Sixers head of basketball operations Daryl Morey confirmed Monday that Simmons’ representatives requested a trade back in June. Simmons is represented by Rich Paul and Klutch Sports Agency.

Simmons, Paul, Morey, general manager Elton Brand, coach Doc Rivers and team owner Josh Harris reportedly met last month in Los Angeles to discuss Simmons’ future. Rivers said Monday he’s not sure why Simmons wants out of Philadelphia.

“It’s tough to play here,” Rivers told reporters. “Ben didn’t say that. I can’t say he said that. That’s just an assumption.”

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported sources as indicating that it will be tough for Simmons to have a “working relationship” with the 76ers. “That stems from feeling thrown under the bus by the team after the Game 7 loss (to the Hawks),” Pompey wrote.

“I really hope he changes his mind,” Embiid added of Simmons. “I do love playing with him because he adds so much to our team. We’ve been building this team around us. I don’t see it as, ‘This is my team.’ I don’t care about any of that.”

That said, there is a “strong expectation” the 76ers could trade Simmons “any day,” Pompey reported.

The Cavaliers, Kings, Timberwolves and Rockets are all said to be some of the more aggressive suitors for Simmons. As an aside, league sources have repeatedly told Hoops Wire that any deal involving Simmons is likely to be between the 76ers, the trade partner, and a third team to assist the deal.

“There are teams that are interested in Ben Simmons, they just don’t want to pay the steep price,” Pompey said during a recent appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic. “Ben Simmons knows that, so they are saying why should we help the 76ers out when they feel like when Doc Rivers said what he said, nobody apologized, and Doc was never reprimanded.”

Pompey was referring to Rivers’ comments after the 76ers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Hawks. When asked if Simmons could be a point guard on a championship-caliber team, Rivers said, “I don’t know the answer to that right now.”

Rivers denied making that comment, though it has been recorded by multiple outlets.

“That’s not what I said, actually,” Rivers said when asked about the comment. “This is when narratives … and this is what makes our jobs hard. I actually said when the guy asked, guys, I’m not answering that stuff right now. I don’t even know how to answer that. So what I was talking about was not answering the question. It had nothing to do with Ben.”

Rivers clarified the remarks in a press conference the following day, then insisted during an ESPN appearance last week that he still believes in Simmons.

“Yeah, all day. All day. He just does so many things, man,” Rivers said, going on to explain how scoring isn’t everything.

“The Ben Wallaces of the world. It was great to see him go into the Hall of Fame. And the Dennis Rodmans of the world … help teams win titles and have Hall of Fame careers without being great scorers,” Rivers said. “I do think Ben (Simmons) can score way more than he has scored, but that’s not what makes him great. What makes him great is all the other things he does.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. Don’t think what Doc originally said was wrong. “I don’t know” is another way of saying Ben has further growth ahead of him. Or another way of saying “we’re not there yet”. Which is true.

    But the whole vibe of response to that press conference from the public and press, maybe combined with comments from Embiid, started making Ben out to be the scapegoat. And then nobody stuck up for him right then and there.

    I thought Doc was issuing him a challenge. And most others were scapegoating Ben as the reason they didn’t succeed.

    Sixers would not have gotten that far without Simmons. That’s the response somebody in the Sixers organization should have been hollering. But it was just silence.

    Embiid should have taken more responsibility, or even gotten called out. Not just for not defending Ben. In that series, he took some really irresponsible shots, some very questionable decisions. No, he wasn’t scared to shoot. It was the opposite, and the results of his trying running fade-aways and garbage shots were just as bad as being scared to shoot, technically worse (when the other team rebounded those bad shots). A little more discipline when he had the ball could have meant a little more domination. And possibly a victory. Instead of acknowledging this, they let Ben take all the heat. And now Doc Rivers too taking all the heat/blame, just for saying “I don’t know”.

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