Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Joel Embiid has said he would welcome Ben Simmons back onto the team should the Aussie change his tune, but that his behaviour following last year's playoffs was unreasonable.
The uncoupling of Simmons and the 76ers began after their playoff loss last season, when the Australian was widely criticised for his play at the end of their game seven loss to Atlanta.
"It's never about one player. Like I always say, you can't win basketball 1-on-5. You need your teammates. You need everybody to do their part," Embiid said on Philadelphia radio program The Mike Misanelli Show.
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"I look back at what was said during the year... you talk about coach, he really had all of our backs, and especially him (Simmons), all year long.
"Everybody's at fault, but at the end of the day, you got to look at yourself and when we lost, I looked at myself. I knew I wasn't good enough, I knew I wasn't healthy enough, and I knew I wasn't good enough."
In regards to comments made about his performance and his need to evolve his game, as well his response to his name being thrown up in trade rumours, Embiid agreed with the assertion that Simmons' behaviour was unreasonable.
"This is a business. You never know what can happen. You can't get your feelings hurt just because your name is in trade rumours," he said.
"Let's say a team came and offered, let's say, what team can I use? Golden State.
"They came and they offered let's say Steph (Curry), Klay (Thompson), and two first-round picks for me. You think the Sixers will say no to that? Of course, they would say yes to that. "
With the trade deadline just a couple of days away, it looks like Simmons and his massive contract will remain on the books, despite him being no closer to playing for the team.
Embiid said he'd tried to speak to the Australian, but didn't go into detail on how successful those efforts had been.
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Simmons and his $177 million USD ($249 million Australian) contract will remain on the books for the 76ers until the end of the 2024-25 season. Embiid said it would be water under the bridge if Simmons were to return.
"Obviously, we're a better team with him on the floor and I'm sure a lot of people agree, even if they don't want to agree, it doesn't matter," he said.
"We still are a better team with him on the floor. So, to me, my goal has always been to win a championship.
"I don't hate anybody and I don't have any problems with anybody around the league."
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