Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and star center Joel Embiid were among the prominent figures within the organization who spoke on Monday at the team’s Media Day about the Ben Simmons situation, expressing a hope that the three-time All-Star would end his holdout and report to Philadelphia.
However, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the team’s messages “fell flat” from the perspective of Simmons and his camp, and – if anything – only added to the 25-year-old’s agitation. Amick suggests that Morey’s claim about there being “a lot of hope” for reconciliation was seen as particularly laughable.
“It’s total bulls–t,” one source with knowledge of Simmons’ thinking said of Morey’s comments, per Amick.
Asked on Monday why Simmons wanted out, head coach Doc Rivers was evasive, suggesting that Philadelphia is a tough place to play, then admitting that Simmons hadn’t specifically given that reason. According to Amick, those comments from Rivers – which shifted the blame away from the team and placed it on Simmons’ relationship with the fans – didn’t help matters either.
Here’s more from Amick on the Simmons situation:
- Although there’s no animosity between the two stars at a personal level, people with knowledge of the situation believe Simmons has decided he’s done playing with Embiid, says Amick. Sources tell The Athletic that Simmons believes the club’s choice to build its system around Embiid’s style of play isn’t conducive to the way Simmons needs to play. “It has run its course,” an Amick source said of the pairing of the two All-Stars.
- Simmons and his camp had hoped to avoid this kind of training camp circus when they went to Sixers management and directly requested a trade earlier in the offseason, according to Amick, who suggests the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up thought he would’ve been moved by now.
- Simmons was so convinced back in January that he’d be traded to the Rockets in a deal for James Harden that he actually started researching Houston real estate, reports Amick. When Harden was sent to Brooklyn, Simmons didn’t publicly gripe about sticking with the Sixers, but it certainly seems possible that the relationship between the two sides had begun fraying as a result of those public negotiations.