Home 76ers Sixers’ Joel Embiid Strongly Denies Rift With Ben Simmons

Sixers’ Joel Embiid Strongly Denies Rift With Ben Simmons

Joel Embiid strongly denied a report that tensions have been rising with fellow 76ers star Ben Simmons, saying that he is enjoying their time as teammates.Joel Embiid

“Stop using my name to push people’s agendas,” Embiid tweeted. “I love and hate drama. I love playing with Ben. Stats don’t lie. He’s an amazing player and we all 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.”

Simmons has become the subject of trade rumors and reportedly is seeking to move on from Philadelphia.

Embiid was responding to a USA Today report that indicated a “rift” between him and Simmons “had been escalating,” and if the 76ers were forced to choose, they would choose Embiid.

“For clarity, I love the criticism, I love when I’m told I can’t do something,” Embiid added to his original tweet. “It makes me work harder to prove everyone wrong but not everyone is built like that.”

That said, multiple reports say Simmons and agent Rich Paul have met with the 76ers’ leadership team in search of a deal. The Sixers apparently are very willing to move him.

Still, the 76ers’ asking price is believed to be significant.

“Think about three months ago when the Sixers are willing to give up Ben Simmons. You are like, ‘Let’s see what we have to do to get him,’” a Western Conference executive said, via Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Now, the difference is Ben Simmons says he refuses to play for the Sixers. He wants to go to three California teams. There’s so much bad blood between him and the team.”

The executive added Philadelphia’s asking price will now have to come down — given that everyone knows Simmons is looking to move on.

“The kid said he’s not going back,” the executive said. “I’m not giving you what you’re demanding. They really messed this up.”

The Timberwolves, Kings and several others have already been linked to Simmons, with Minnesota “persistent” in its pursuit, per Adrian Wojarowski of ESPN.

“Minnesota is one team that’s been persistent with Philadelphia, but they’ve needed to have, really, third and even fourth teams in those kinds of deals to get back to Philly what it would want. …

“I think for the Sixers, if they’re going to trade Ben Simmons, they’ve got to get back players right now who continue on that Joel Embiid timeline of having an MVP-level player in his prime, that you’re trying to win championships with, and that’s a hard package to get back for Ben Simmons right now. There’s a very distinct possibility he’s going to have to come back to training camp with them next season.”

Simmons, 25, is coming off a subpar playoff showing, with the 76ers losing to the Hawks in the second round of the playoffs. Simmons either refused to shoot or shot poorly late in games, finishing a historically bad 34 percent on free throws.

Still, at 6-foot-10 he is an accomplished passer and defender on the wing, averaging 14.9 points and 6.9 assists this past season. He finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season — and for all the grief he takes about his jumper, he is a career 56 percent shooter.

Follow Sam Amico: @AmicoHoops

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