The Philadelphia 76ers star laid into his former teammate on Friday, one day after the Sixers granted Simmons' request for a trade. The resulting blockbuster saw Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks go to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for James Harden and Paul Millsap.
The deal ended a months-long standoff between Simmons and the Sixers, bad blood that seemed to go all the way back to Embiid and head coach Doc Rivers' criticism of Simmons following the team's loss in last year's Eastern Conference semifinals. Since then, Simmons has been reported to no longer want to play with Embiid.
Once the trade was made, Embiid was quick to post the "RIP Bozo" meme. Not much subtext with that one.
Embiid, however, playfully denied any intent with the meme.
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 12, 2022
“I don’t even know what the tweet was about, I just tweeted a random person. I just thought it was a picture on the internet. I thought he was well-dressed, he had a nice suit on, good-looking. He had some swag, so I thought it was a good picture.”
Embiid may have shrugged off the meme, but he did deliver some heavy criticism of Simmons. When reflecting on Simmons' Philadelphia tenure with reporters, Embiid didn't hold back on what he perceived to be his former teammate's priorities.
— Tom Moore (@TomMoorePhilly) February 12, 2022
"Obviously we didn't get it done as far as winning in the playoffs, but you look the history of being on the court, what we did in the regular season, we were dominant. So it's unfortunate that winning was not the biggest factor. It's unfortunate that, for him, having his own team and, I guess, being the star, was more of his priorities. I always thought that everything was great, the fit was great, but unfortunately Ben thought that it wasn't. But, you know, we all move on.
If Simmons really wanted to go be the star of his own, he really couldn't have picked a worse landing spot. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are obviously going to be the focal points of the Nets' offense. Simmons as he is — an elite, switchable defender who prefers facilitating over scoring — sounds like a perfect fit for the Nets, but only if that's what Simmons wants to be.
However things work out in Brooklyn, it's hard to argue the Sixers didn't come out well in a trade they were under heavy pressure to make.