While it might have been difficult to watch Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers‘ former top pick, depart in free agency last year, at least one good came out of it. Rather than read between the lines and divine the behind-the-scenes feelings, everyone now feels free to share it all.
That includes Danny Green, the Sixers’ former glue guy who had a front-row seat to the Cold War between Simmons and Joel Embiid. And on his podcast Inside the Green Room, Green revealed that the situation was so volatile that he actively avoided any Embiid-Simmons matchups in practice when Simmons returned from a holdout in the preseason.
I had the opportunity to give Joel [Embiid] the ball against Ben [Simmons]. For the sake of keeping the energy well, I swung the ball across the floor away from that matchup because I don’t know what Joel -– because Joel is known to have some chippy plays in him as you have seen throughout his career. He’s not the one to back down anything or hide his feelings or emotions and I know there was probably some frustration with him and who knows how it would have came out during that play, but I thought it was smarter and safer for us as a group to try and keep –- if we were trying to bring him back -– to move the ball to the other side of the floor.
Would Green Do It Differently A Second Time?
Green also revealed that, if given the chance to do things over again, he would absolutely have forced an Embiid-Simmons clash.
Had I thrown that ball into Joel? Ben and Joel had matched up? I really wish I had thrown the ball in and see what would have happened.
It’s tantalizing to imagine the headlines that might have come out of practice had Embiid and Simmons been matched up. With the entire NBA world glued to the Sixers’ training camp, it’s not a stretch to say that, had Embiid and Simmons come to blows, as Green feared, it would have been instantly reported.
While Green’s honesty is always appreciated, it didn’t exactly take an insider to reveal the frosty relationship between the two franchise stars.
Ben Simmons Takes Aim at Joel Embiid in October
Green’s comments aren’t the first that revealed the true extent of Embiid and Simmons’ relationship. On October 14 Nick Friedell of ESPN published an interview with Ben Simmons covering a litany of topics, including Simmons’ new digs with the Brooklyn Nets, his shooting, and yes, Embiid.
Friedell: While we’re on this topic — have you talked to Joel [Embiid] yet?
Simmons: I don’t talk to Jo. We never really spoke.
Friedell: You guys had a lot of success when you were there. How would you describe that relationship now?
Simmons: I don’t think there was really a relationship there. Like in terms of a friendship? You can try as hard as you want to try to be close to somebody, be their friend, whatever it is, but everyone is different as people, so for me, it’s never personal. I don’t have any anger or hate towards him. He is who he is and I am who I am.
With apparently no relationship existing between Philadelphia’s franchise pillars, it was only a matter of time before the two had a falling out. Thankfully, most of it transpired off the court, perhaps thanks in part to Green’s wise ballhandling.