The target on Ben Simmons' back grows larger by the day as he and his team attempt to wait out Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia 76ers. The trade deadline is one week from today and nothing in the rumor world suggests Simmons will be on the move. With both sides dug in, it seems unlikely anything will change should Simmons remain on the team past the deadline, but public criticism is directed towards his camp and his camp only.
Shaq has been one of the most prominent analysts bashing Simmons on-screen. His most recent comments came on The Big Podcast with Nischelle Turner & Spice Adams. Shaq explained that one of his biggest issues with Simmons is that he's wasting the opportunities granted to him by his predecessors; it was only through the play and star profiles of Magic, Jordan, and Shaq that Simmons even has the chance to earn as much money as he is. Shaq also revealed Simmons DM'd him on Instagram after he called the All-NBA defender a "baby" on Inside The NBA.
Shaq did not reveal what Simmons said (which raises questions of why he even mentioned it in the first place), but the hosts gleaned from his comments that Simmons was probably upset Shaq didn't have his back as a former player and LSU attendee and said as much.
Shaq elaborating further why he's so frustrated with Simmons is interesting but the fact that Simmons reached out proves he's hearing all the noise and knows his public standing is currently in the tank. Will that change anything? Who knows. It would be a massive surprise if he returned to the team post-deadline and accepted reality for what it is. On the other hand, the bashing will continue and perhaps even increase as the Sixers continue to win despite missing his talents.
The saga continues unabated.