A report Ben Simmons no longer wants to play alongside Joel Embiid and his absence from the Philadelphia 76ers are "borderline disrespectful", according to the All-Star center.
The 76ers this week began training camp ahead of the new NBA season without Simmons, who is holding out for a trade following the fallout from the team's shock Eastern Conference semifinals elimination at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks last season.
A report in The Athletic citing anonymous sources on Tuesday claimed Simmons wants to leave because he does not think trying to fit in alongside Embiid is right for his style of play.
Embiid believes the information has come from his team-mate's camp. While he is frustrated by Simmons holding out, he admitted the 76ers remain a better team when he plays.
"I saw it. I don't know if it came from him or whatever, but over the past few months stuff has been put out there, looking at the reaction of him not being here. I feel like it's fair to assume it's coming from his agent or his people or whatever," said Embiid when asked about the report.
"I feel like our teams have always been built around his needs, so it was kind of surprising to see. [Simmons was] The reason we signed Al [Horford]. We got rid of Jimmy [Butler], which I still think was a mistake, [because] he needed the ball in his hands, and that's the decision they made. Like I said, it's 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. Because if you're on a winning team, you're always going to have a spot in the league because you contributed to a winning team.
our team can cook on the court.— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) September 30, 2021
the kitchen... that's a different story pic.twitter.com/FhoSAEjfwf
"Obviously we're a better team with him, we're not a better team without him, that's for sure. We still hope he changes his mind, but I owe it to these guys to worry about what we have here.
"To 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."
Simmons only attempted one shot in the fourth quarter of the final six games of the series against the Hawks, while he passed up a layup to tie the game last in the fourth quarter of Game 7.
Doc Rivers said he did not know whether the 76ers could be champions with Simmons as their point guard, though he has since attempted to backtrack in a bid to convince the Australian to stay in Philadelphia.