CAMDEN, N.J. — On Tuesday, a report from Sam Amick of The Athletic provided more details into why Ben Simmons no longer wants to be a Sixer. The crux of it is that Simmons believes the duo’s on-court relationship has “run its course” and that Simmons felt Embiid’s presence on the block hampered Simmons’ ability to get to the paint.
After practice Thursday, Embiid had the chance to respond. Instead of writing a full story around the quotes, it seems better to simply publish the entirety of Embiid’s quotes, with slight editing for clarity and brevity.
Embiid’s full reaction is below:
I saw it. I’m not sure if it came from him or whatever, but over the past few months stuff that’s been put out there and looking back, the reaction of him not being here, I feel like it’s fair to assume that it’s coming [from him] — whether it’s his agent or his people or whatever. Like I said, it is disappointing, but I feel like over the years the way our team has been built around [us]. You look at last year, you’ve got the whole starting lineup, I was the worst three-point shooter in the starting lineup and I shot 38 percent from three. We’ve always had shooters and I feel like I can really play with anybody, and I can make anybody be better on the court. I don’t necessarily need shooters, but I feel like over the years, you look at when we signed Al [Horford], it’s because we needed a stretch five, just to make sure that was for [Simmons]. Most of my career I’ve had to step out to the three-point line, which I don’t mind. I like to be a basketball player. I like to do everything on the basketball court, but I feel like our teams have been built — whether it’s the shooting needed, a stretch five — I feel like he’s always had it here — and we still have it. You’ve got Seth, one of the best three-point shooters ever, Danny Green, Tobias [Harris] is a 40 percent shooter for his career, Furkan [Korkmaz] coming off the bench, at times, Shake [Milton], I think he can be a better shooter but he can get hot. We just added Georges [Niang]. So I feel like our teams have always been built around his needs. It’s kind of surprising to see, for him to say that. Even going back to the reason we signed Al … we got rid of Jimmy [Butler] which I still think it was a mistake … [Simmons] needed the ball in his hands. That’s the decision they made. Like I said, it is surprising, but I’m really focused on the guys that are here. The situation is weird, disappointing, borderline kind of disrespectful to all the guys that are out here fighting for their lives. Some guys rely on the team to be successful to stay in the league and make money somehow. Because if you’re on a winning team you’re always going to have a spot in the league just because you’re on a winning team and you contributed. Obviously we’re a better team with him. We’re not a better team without him, that’s for sure. … We’re trying to get better. Trying to get on the same agenda. We know what we got to do, and every single day we got to try to attack it. … But we are a better team with him. There’s no question about it. We still hope that he changes his mind, but I kind of owe it to these guys to just worry about what we have here. To figure out what’s going to happen [with Simmons], is not my job. I’m not the GM, I’m not the owner, so that’s none of my business.