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Ben Simmons’ non-response to Joel Embiid questioning his trade demand

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Sixers

Ben Simmons finally addressed the Philadelphia 76ers directly on Friday. While the team seems to have responded well to the disgruntled All-Star’s admission of ongoing mental health issues, Joel Embiid was still surely left frustrated by Simmons’ refusal to shed light on the justification of his trade demand.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and STADIUM, Embiid pointedly asked Simmons during today’s meeting why he wants to continue his career elsewhere. Instead of answering the question posed by his former fellow foundational cornerstone with Philadelphia, Simmons simply said he’s “mentally not feeling like himself” and “needs some time away.”

As much as Embiid may want to hear it from the horse’s mouth, the reasons Simmons wants to leave the City of Brotherly Love have been obvious for months.

Not only did head front office honcho Daryl Morey make efforts to trade Simmons for James Harden early last season, but the inflammatory comments of Embiid and Doc Rivers following the Sixers’ loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals also eroded Simmons’ trust in his coaches and teammates. Simmons indirectly offered more cause for his desire to move on last month, with reports emerging that he no longer wanted to play with a high-usage post-up hub like Embiid.

To be clear, that’s no personal indictment on Embiid from Simmons. The notion they’d be better off separated has been swirling league-wide ever since they debuted as teammates in 2017-18. But his response made it obvious that Embiid didn’t take kindly to those specific remarks, and seeking clarification on Simmons’ trade demand during Friday’s team meeting lends further credence to that reality.

Simmons isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But the longer he’s around the Sixers, the more fractious it appears his relationship with Embiid will become.