During his postgame press conference following a disappointing Game 7 loss in the second round of the NBA Playoffs, Ben Simmons stated he would like to return to the Sixers and run it back next season. A few weeks later, it was proven that the All-Star didn't actually feel that way as he urged his agent to request a trade for him.
With two weeks worth of practices and three preseason games in the bag, Ben Simmons has yet to suit up in a Sixers uniform. Although key members of his team -- including Joel Embiid -- have publicly stated they wanted the young guard back in the mix, Simmons stayed out in Los Angeles hoping for a trade.
Sixers players didn't want to urge Simmons to come back to the Sixers publicly. Before training camp tipped off a couple of weeks ago, it was revealed the team planned to fly out to LA and meet with Simmons to try and salvage the situation. Unfortunately, the three-time All-Star rejected their attempts.
Simmons didn't cut off all communication with members of the Sixers organization this offseason. Several players, including Danny Green, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, and Tobias Harris, all mentioned they've had contact with Simmons at some point during the summer. However, the team's top player Joel Embiid was among those who couldn't get through to the 25-year-old three-time All-Star.
"Personally, I haven't talked to him since the season ended," Embiid said in regards to Simmons following Monday night's preseason victory over the Brooklyn Nets. "Obviously, I tried, but it wasn't successful as a lot of my teammates."
Although Embiid is disappointed in the situation and finds it borderline disrespectful that Simmons reportedly believes they can't coexist on the court together, the star center has made it clear on numerous occasions that he's on board with playing alongside Simmons again.
While their lack of communication during a drama-filled offseason might create an awkward situation as Simmons finally returns, Embiid is ready to take the high road and focus on winning basketball games rather than the trade saga.
"Like I said, it's unfortunate the whole situation happened, but like I say, we are a better team with him on the floor," Embiid explained. "I think there's gonna be some adjustments, but it doesn't need to be awkward. I mean, we are professionals. We want to win. I want to win. So he gives us the best chance to win, so that's what I'm gonna go with."
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.