That time has come.
Embiid spoke about Simmons' reported comments for the first time on Thursday, giving an honest answer about whether he thinks that his and Simmons' playing relationship has run its course.
"I feel like over the years the way our team has been built around, you look at last year, the whole starting lineup shot — I was the worst three-point shooter in the starting lineup, and I shot 38 percent from three. We've always had shooters, and I feel like I can really play with anybody. I can make anybody better on the court. I don't necessarily need shooters, but I feel like over the years, you look at when we signed Al [Horford], its because we needed a stretch five, just to make sure that was [there]. Most of my career, I've had to kind of step out to the three-point line, which I don't mind. I like to be a basketball player, I like to do everything on the basketball court.
"But I feel like our teams have been built, whether it's the shooting needed or stretch five and all that stuff, I feel like he's always had it here. And we still have it. Seth [Curry], one of the best three-point shooters ever. Danny Green, Tobias [Harris] is a 40 percent three-point shooter. Furkan [Korkmaz] coming off the bench. At time Shake [Milton], I think he can be a better shooter, but you know, he can get hot. We just added Georges [Niang]. So I feel like, our teams have always been built around his needs.
"It was kind of surprising to see. We'll say that, even going back to, I mean, the reason we signed Al. We got rid of Jimmy [Butler], which I still think was a mistake, just to make sure he needed the ball in his hands, and that's the decision they made. Like I said, it is surprising.
"But I'm really focused on the guys that are here. The situation is disappointing, borderline kind of disrespectful to all the guys that are out here fighting for their lives. Some guys rely on the team being successful to stay in the league and make money somehow. Because if you're on a winning team, you're always going to have a spot in the league, just because you're on a winning team and you contributed."
Embiid gave the perfect answer. He didn't focus on his and Simmons' personal relationship, or even their relationship on the court. He focused on how the organization has bent over backward to give Simmons every tool he needs to succeed, signing players and shipping them out based on what would work best for him. Embiid believes the players who are there now — who are mostly the players who were there last season — are able to give Simmons what he needs to be successful on the court.
And he said it all without obviously biting back at Simmons, even though it had to be a bit of a gut punch to hear Simmons reportedly doesn't want to play with him anymore.
Embiid still wants Simmons to come back
Embiid's comments about the construction of the team weren't complaints; they were just observations that highlighted what Simmons has waiting for him if he returns: a team full of talented players who want him to succeed, because that makes the team better. Embiid still wants Simmons to come back, because he knows that the Sixers won't be as good without him.
"Obviously, we're a better team with him, we're not a better team without him, that's for sure. We are a better team with him. But like I said, it is surprising, but I'm focused on the guys that are here. We're trying to get better, trying to get on the same agenda, we know what we got to do, and ever single day we got to attack it as we're trying to get better every single day.
"We are a better team with him, there's no question about it. We still hope he changes his mind, but I kind of owe it to these guys to worry about what we have here. That's the fun of the job. To kind of figure out what's going to happen, that's not my job, I'm not the GM, I'm not an owner, so that's none of my business, honestly."