Embiid slams Simmons rift reports

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid on Wednesday denied reports of a rift with team-mate Ben Simmons amid reports that the Australian star is seeking to leave the franchise.

USA Today reported that an increasingly unsettled Simmons wants to leave Philadelphia and had informed president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and coach Doc Rivers he planned not to report for training camp.

The report cited an "escalating" rift with Embiid as one of the reasons Simmons was looking for a trade following a 2020-2021 season that ended with yet another playoff disappointment.

Embiid however denied any rupture in his relationship with Simmons in a series of tweets in response to the USA Today report.

"Stop using my name to push people's agendas," Embiid wrote.

"I love and hate drama. I love playing with Ben. Stats don't lie. He's an amazing player and we all didn't get the job done. It's on me personally. I hope everyone is back cuz we know we're good enough to win.

"From my own experience, y'all have no idea how much this media makes up stuff for followers and shame on you for believing them."

Simmons' future in Philadelphia has been the subject of speculation since the team lost a decisive Game 7 to Atlanta in last season's playoffs, with Simmons's offensive output shrivelling in the crucial final quarter.

That led to Sixers coach Rivers questioning whether Simmons could be a championship-winning point guard.

Embiid compared Simmons' current situation in 2019-2020, when he shushed fans for booing him during a poor run of form.

"I haven't forgotten but 2 years ago, I got booed, people in Philly wanted me to be traded," Embiid said.

"I even shushed them. Only the real ones didn't but I just put the work in that offseason to be better cuz I knew I wasn't playing up to my potential. Philly fans, y'all also gotta be better."