After a holdout that spanned the entirety of training camp and the first week-plus of preseason play, Ben Simmons returned to Philadelphia to rejoin the 76ers on Monday night. There's still a ways to go for the two sides to bury the hatchet, but Simmons' return is at least a step in the right direction. After Philadelphia's preseason victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid reacted positively to Simmons' return and spoke optimistically about where the two sides go from here.
"That is good for the organization," Embiid said of Simmons' return. "That's something that everybody wanted. I've always said that I believe that he gives us the best chance to win. We are a better team, with him than without, that's for sure. I'm happy that things have resolved and we can move on and try to try to be a better team."
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Embiid revealed that he hasn't spoken to Simmons since the end of last season, which is interesting. When it comes to the chemistry in the locker room, the big man acknowledged that some adjustments will need to be made, but he doesn't think that the situation needs to become uncomfortable given the fact that they're all professionals.
"it's unfortunate that the whole situation happened, but like I said, we are a better team with him on the floor," Embiid said. "I think there's going to be some adjustments, but it doesn't need to be awkward. I mean, we are professionals. We want to win. I want to win. He gives us the best chance to win, so that's what I'm going to go with."
Embiid has maintained that the Sixers are a better team with Simmons out on the floor, but he did refer to Simmons' holdout as "disrespectful" to his teammates during training camp.
"The situation is weird, disappointing, borderline kind of disrespectful to all the guys that are out here fighting for their lives," Embiid said late last month. "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."
Simmons being back in Philadelphia certainly doesn't mean that the situation is resolved. His return was obviously motivated by money, as the team was withholding his pay, and it doesn't change the fact that he wants to be traded. The Sixers, though, are only interested in trading Simmons if such a move will benefit the team in the present, as they're constructed to win now around Embiid. Perhaps such an opportunity will materialize once the season starts. In the meantime, the Sixers' hope is that Simmons will be professional and play to his full ability given that he has four years remaining on his current contract.