After months that felt more like years, Philadelphia found a Ben Simmons suitor in the Brooklyn Nets. It ended with Simmons leaving the organization that drafted him with the No. 1 pick in the 2016 pick but it also meant that he’d be officially splitting with Joel Embiid.
Embiid was the No. 3 pick of the 2014 draft but he didn’t make his debut until the 2016-17 season because of a “broken foot bone that resisted healing.”
The Simmons-Embiid duo was part of the “Trust the Process” plan, a phrase that former general manager Samuel Blake Hinkie coined in 2013. The Sixers were supposed to become a championship contender and win a title with Simmons and Embiid.
Instead, things turned ugly in 2021 as Philadelphia fell to Atlanta in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Simmons requested a trade in the offseason and his wish wasn’t granted until the 2022 trade deadline.
It’s been nearly two weeks since that happened. On Tuesday, ESPN’s NBA Today aired a recent interview between Malika Andrews and Embiid.
Joel Embiid says it’s been weeks since he spoke with Brooklyn Nets’ Ben Simmons.
During Simmons’ introductory press conference, he said that he hadn’t spoken with Embiid after the trade.
Embiid echoed that sentiment when Andrews asked him the last time that he had talked with Simmons.
"“I’d probably say a week or two before the trade deadline,” confirming the report that the two did not speak following the trade."
The MVP candidate elaborated on the Simmons-Sixers saga and said:
"“He’s a great player, and I think whatever he’s gonna add to Brooklyn is gonna take them to another level too. I did a lot of chasing around, try to get him back and try to make him feel comfortable again. It was tough. I didn’t care anymore… I’m outspoken and I’m honest, you know, I could’ve said a lot of stuff, but I still did whatever I thought was good to do as a teammate,” Embiid finished."
Less than a year ago, Embiid said that he and Simmons had gotten closer and that he loved playing with him.
Oh, how things change.
In reality, the trade was beneficial for both teams. Simmons no longer wanted to be in Philadelphia and according to Harden, he wanted to initially be traded to the Sixers.
If Simmons suits up for the Nets on Mar. 10 in Philadelphia, perhaps he’ll chat with Embiid before, during, or after the game. Regardless, between Simmons-Embiid and James Harden-Brooklyn, there will likely be a slew of heated words exchanged between the two teams.