Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have a very interesting dynamic. Both are viewed as Philadelphia 76ers cornerstones, yet for whatever reason they seem to lack the sort of chemistry and cohesiveness necessary to form a power duo.
Because Embiid and Simmons are not fully in sync, a very clear line in the sand has been drawn. There is a mutual understanding that one of them may end up getting traded, and this has led to a bit of a power struggle. That power struggle manifested itself in both guys trying to exert their will over the Sixers’ coaching hunt over the offseason.
According to Bill Oram and Joe Vardon of The Athletic, “the Sixers’ other star, Joel Embiid, ultimately opposed Lue as coach for X’s and O’s reasons and for the optics of Simmons’ ‘guy’ getting the job.”
Because of the links both Lue and Simmons have to Klutch Sports, Embiid felt like the odd man out. However, Philly’s decision to hire Doc Rivers instead reversed the roles. Now it is Simmons whose name has frequently been the subject of trade speculation, most notably in a prospective deal for Houston Rockets star James Harden.
The trade chatter surrounding Simmons has gotten so loud, in fact, that Rivers had to come out last week and publicly reassure all parties involved that the youngster wasn’t going anywhere.
“I can tell you again that none of this has started from us,” Rivers said of last week’s trade rumors.
“I gave Ben a call last night, but I’m not going to share when we said. It’s unfortunate, but it’s part of our business. It is what it is.”
Due to Simmons’ youthfulness, Rivers wanted to ensure that the trade speculation wasn’t getting to him.
“I think it depends on the guy,” he continued.
Yikes James Harden. https://t.co/vzl1watt5q
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 22, 2020
“Ben’s young sometimes you feel like you do. I’m sure there’ll be other times when you don’t feel like you need to. I always just call a player just to check on and get a read from where he’s at. I feel very good about our conversation. Now we can just move forward.”
Publicly, team president Daryl Morey has been adamant about not wanting to trade Simmons.
“We are not trading Ben Simmons,” Morey said in a statement. “He is an important part of our future.”
Embiid has also maintained that he wants Simmons around.
The mystery of what Tyreek Hill was drinking on the sidelines has been solved. https://t.co/GmXi3qpRs6
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 21, 2020
“We’ve been way closer,” Embiid said a couple of weeks back regarding his relationship with Simmons.
“I want him on my team.”
Will Embiid and Simmons ultimately be able to succeed together?
Time will tell.