Ben Simmons isn’t so popular in the City of Brotherly Love at the moment.
The disgruntled point guard has been holding out all season in hopes the Philadelphia 76ers would grant his long-standing trade request. Instead, all the Sixers have done is fight for a playoff spot without the top pick of the 2016 NBA Draft in uniform.
Ben Simmons doesn’t like how Joel Embiid threw him under the bus
While rumblings regarding Simmons’ long-term happiness in Philadelphia had previously emerged, that was mostly considered a non-story. But the 2021 playoffs put everything into high gear as the point guard’s disappearing act against the Atlanta Hawks was viewed by many as the primary reason the top-seeded Sixers were eliminated.
Embiid was one of those most critical of the point guard. After Philly’s Game 7 loss, the Process highlighted Simmons passing up a wide-open dunk as the turning point of the game. Simmons has reportedly remained bothered by those criticisms to this day.
As ESPN‘s Ramona Shelburne detailed in her in-depth report, sources close to Simmons claim the 25-year-old is upset that Embiid threw the blame on him for last year’s playoff loss. Especially because Simmons didn’t pile on Embiid after the center’s disappointing second-round series against the Toronto Raptors in 2019.
That Raptors series was a rare sore spot for Embiid. The MVP candidate averaged just 17.6 points on 37.0% shooting through those seven games. But he still managed to go a combined +89 in the plus-minus department thanks to strong defense. Simmons, meanwhile, only scored more than 14 points once and finished at a combined -16.
Embiid isn’t the only person earning Simmons wrath
While Embiid is the most high-profile person drawing Simmons’ ire, he’s not the only prominent name. As Shelburne explained, the two-time All-Defensive selection expected more support from head coach Doc Rivers:
“He’s frustrated that Rivers didn’t come to see him while he was training in Los Angeles last summer. Simmons doesn’t dispute that he didn’t reply when Rivers texted and called him several times over the summer asking to see him. But in hindsight, Simmons feels Rivers and the Sixers could’ve done more, like show up at a well-known gym in the San Fernando Valley where he was training.”Ramona Shelburne
“I’m going to ignore your calls and texts this summer but then act like you’re not making enough of an effort to reach out to me.” That’s Ben Simmons’ logic, everybody, even if he didn’t specifically say as much.
The mercurial point guard is also upset with the organization as a whole for fining him. Simmons, who cited mental health for why he couldn’t be with the team, has now lost over $19 million since the start of the season. Should he continue his holdout, the six-year vet could lose another $12 million.
It’s time for Simmons and the 76ers to part ways
By now, this sentiment has been echoed time and time again. But it bears repeating — Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers need a divorce.
Here’s what we know. The 76ers are managing just fine without Simmons, going 31-19 and owning the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Embiid clearly doesn’t need his point guard either, as his numbers make him one of the NBA’s front-runners for the MVP award.
With reports emerging that Morey has his sights set on James Harden, Philadelphia can take its chances during the summer when Harden can hit free agency. But in order to even do that, Philly must attempt to clear Simmons’ $177 million contract off the books.
It’s not as if the 76ers aren’t trying to shop Ben. However, their egregious asking price is causing some teams to balk. With the NBA trade deadline just days away, Philly has a chance to get something for its star guard who’s given them nothing in 2021-22.
Shelburne’s report highlighted Simmons’ immaturity and stubbornness. The sooner both sides can move on, the better off both — especially the 76ers — will be.