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Joel Embiid shared that while he wishes the best for the future of Ben Simmons, chasing Simmons around and asking him to stay in Philadelphia was “tough.”
Back in October, Joel Embiid made headlines when he said he no longer cared about the Ben Simmons situation.
“At this point, I don’t care about that man,” Embiid said. Little did the NBA world know that Embiid knew what the world now does: Simmons was never going to play for the 76ers again, and nothing would change his mind.
There’s been talk that Embiid took shots at Simmons on Twitter right before he was traded, but in an interview with Malika Andrews, Embiid opened up on his complicated feelings on the Simmons saga.
Embiid admitted that he and Simmons last spoke about a week before the trade deadline, but Embiid wishes nothing but the best in regards to his former teammate.
“I think he’s a great player, and I think whatever he’s going to add to Brooklyn is going to take him to another level,” Embiid said.
While Embiid was gracious in wishing the best for Simmons in Brooklyn, the MVP candidate divulged on how difficult it was to pursue Simmons and implore him to stay in Philadelphia. Eventually, he removed himself from the situation.
“I did a lot of chasing around trying to get him back and try to make him feel comfortable again. It was tough. I didn’t care anymore.”
Joel Embiid opens up on what it was like ‘chasing around’ Ben Simmons
What Embiid’s conversation with Andrews reveals is that the Simmons situation was not only complicated for Simmons and 76ers brass: it was something that affected the locker room and hurt his teammates.
“If I had pride, I’m outspoken, and if I’m honest, I could have said a lot of stuff, but I still did what I thought was good to do as a teammate,” Embiid said.
Locker room distractions can deeply affect a team’s mentality, which is why Embiid had to push whatever Simmons wanted to do out of his mind when the season began. All along, Embiid had the right approach in controlling only what he can: Simmons is now happily elsewhere, the 76ers are 35-23, and Embiid is now the frontrunner in the NBA MVP conversation.