Sixers Star Joel Embiid Dishes on Final Chat with Ben Simmons


Getty Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons during a playoff game against the Atlanta Hawks in June.

James Harden had a saying when he first got to Brooklyn and teamed up with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. He termed the All-Star triumvirate’s time together on the court as “scary hours.” Well, get ready for “scary minutes” for the Philadelphia 76ers after the All-Star break.

Sixers center Joel Embiid revealed the new slogan in an ESPN interview during All-Star weekend. Swapping Ben Simmons for Harden has turned Philly into a viable championship contender. Embiid doesn’t see too many teams being able to stop himself and Harden for 48 minutes a night. Buckle up.

“I try to go by what he said, scary hours but instead I say scary minutes,” Embiid told Malika Andrews. “All the 48 minutes we’re going to be on the court together healthy because we have a chance. We can accomplish something big. We already have a great system in place and when you add a James Harden, it takes you to another level.”

Harden is tentatively set to debut on Friday, February 25 in Minnesota. Sixers president Daryl Morey all but confirmed that would be the case during a late-night tweet. The 2018 MVP has been out since February 2 with left hamstring tightness.

“You look at what he did when he was in Houston, he was a scorer,” Embiid said of Harden, “and obviously one of the best scorers of all time. And then he got more involved in Brooklyn by being a good playmaker, you know 10 assists a game, so that’s what we’re going to look for him to do.”

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Embiid Talked to Simmons Ahead of Trade Deadline

Simmons let it slip that he didn’t call Embiid after the trade to say goodbye. The two former Sixers teammates had already made peace with the way things ended. However, the All-Star big man revealed that he and Simmons did have a conversation “a week or two before the trade deadline” and they wished each other the best.

“He’s a great player and I think whatever he’s going to add to Brooklyn is going to take them to another level, too,” Embiid told Andrews. “I did a lot of chasing around, you know, trying to get him back and trying to make him feel comfortable again – it was time. I didn’t care anymore.”

Embiid mentioned he was done being a “babysitter” in previous interviews. There was even a report he tried to board a plane to visit Simmons in California, but the disgruntled point guard waived him off. No reconciliation was going to happen and everyone was fine with it.

“I’m outspoken, I’m honest, I could have said a lot of stuff,” Embiid said. “Still, I did whatever I thought was good to do as a teammate.”

Morey Made Harden Move to Win Championship

Morey has been consistent with his messaging ever since Simmons decided to boycott the season. He wasn’t going to waste Embiid’s championship window by giving away a three-time All-Star player for nothing. When the deal for Harden was finally completed, there were quite a few talking heads saying the Sixers got fleeced.

Don’t bring that noise around Morey. You have to give up something to get something.

“Let’s say we quote-unquote overpaid. First off, I don’t know what that means,” Morey told Colin Cowherd, via Forbes. “We went from 2 percent title odds to I think we’re sitting at 13 percent right now. So, to me, it’s very straightforward. Our job is to give ourselves a chance to win a championship. This does it. And you’re gonna have to give up something to get a player of James Harden’s caliber.”

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