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Joel Embiid is Not Mad at Ben Simmons, Just Disappointed

Liam McKeone
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons / Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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Ben Simmons is openly at war with the Philadelphia 76ers. The former No. 1 overall pick has informed the organization he wants a trade and will not show up for another day of work in Philly. Daryl Morey has been trying to engineer a trade for Simmons behind the scenes all summer, but the saga moved into the light now, which makes it much harder for both sides to get what they want.

As a result, the Sixers have engaged in a battle of public perception in the weeks since Simmons' trade demand went public. Doc Rivers went on ESPN to talk about how the team wants him back and attempted to undo the damage caused by his Game 7 postgame press conference back in June. To this point, the public backpedal has been unsuccessful and the last we heard was that Simmons told teammates not to fly to LA to try and convince him to return.

The Sixers, like the rest of the NBA, had their first media day of the 2021-22 season on Monday. Joel Embiid spoke at length about the Simmons situation. The short of it is simple: he's not mad, he's just disappointed.

There was also an interesting tidbit from the same press conference in which Embiid talked about trade rumors in the life of an NBA player and said they all have to deal with it and have to grow up. It was not specifically directed at Simmons, but it sure seemed like it could have been.

Most of us have heard similar messages from our parents and everyone knows it's not actually true. Embiid is probably very upset that Simmons is blowing up the team after they were the top seed in the East last year. There's no chance Philadelphia can find a trade that makes their team better now that their leverage is gone with the open declaration for a trade from Simmons. Embiid knows that, and presumably Simmons does, too. The latter just doesn't care. The bridges have been burnt.

But nobody is openly lambasting Simmons at the first opportunity in front of a camera, so not all is lost. Not yet, anyway.

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