The Nets may be trying to downplay any rivalry that is building with the Philadelphia 76ers, but the cannot be said for those from the City of Brotherly Love.
The rhetoric out of Philadelphia towards Ben Simmons has continued following the blockbuster trade that sent James Harden to Philly and Simmons to Brooklyn, along with Seth Curry and Andre Drummond. Danny Green and Joel Embiid each took shots at Simmons in recent interviews.
Even college basketball coaching legend Herb Magee got his licks in on Simmons.
The end to his tenure in Philadelphia has clearly left a bad taste in the mouths of some within and around the 76ers, which has caused those types of comments to come out in the media. Green, for instance, questioned the relationship that Simmons has with Curry and Drummond.
“Interesting dynamic of how things went down. Interesting dynamic of who went with him,” Green said during an episode of The Green Room podcast. “I haven’t had a chance to talk to those guys yet, but I know they weren’t on the most cordial terms when he was in Philly with Drum and Seth. So I wonder how that relationship is now.”
Neither player has indicated that they have had issues with Simmons in the past, nor have they suggested any issues persist now that they’re in Brooklyn. Drummond and Curry have both taken significant roles with the Nets right from the jump since they made their debut on Feb. 14 against the Sacramento Kings.
Simmons still has yet to suit up for the Nets, but could be ready to play in the coming weeks. He did indicate that he was hoping to play in the Nets’ March 10 trip to Philadelphia, but Green again took a shot at that idea during his podcast.
“First, I’d be highly surprised if he even plays in that game,” Green said. “I don’t know where his health is mentally, physically, I know he had other issues, and we all know he does not like to play in Philly. If he does play in that game, I’d be highly surprised. But say that does happen, I see it as being a very hectic, playoff-like atmosphere and environment to where it may be very rough for him. I don’t have any ill will toward the guy, I don’t hate him I don’t dislike him, it’s just for me, it’s whatever.
“I waste more energy going out of my way to dislike him, or spend energy trying to go out of my way to hate him or do things to him. If he comes up and shows love, I’ll say what’s up, that’s the type of deal I’m on. I’m not the type of guy to not say what’s up to people that say what’s up to me.”
During an interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews, Embiid took a lighter approach in his criticisms of Simmons. The new Nets superstar said that he had spoken to several players from Philadelphia after the trade, but Embiid wasn’t one of them.
Embiid told Andrews that he had spoken to Simmons a week or two before the trade deadline.
“I did a lot of chasing around trying to get him back and try to make him feel comfortable again. It was tough. I didn’t care anymore,” he said.
Embiid also indicated that if he was a more prideful person that he “could have said a lot of stuff.”
“I still did whatever I thought was good to do for a teammate,” he added.
In his lone meeting with the media since arriving in Brooklyn, Simmons largely stayed away from showing any frustration with those in Philadelphia or who have questioned his reasoning for leaving.