“I Would Get Rid Of Him” | Shaq Takes Hard Stance In Ben Simmons And 76ers Beef

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)


Shaquille O’Neal feels some way about Ben Simmons’ faceoff with the Philadelphia 76ers.

For Shaq, Simmons’ absence from the season is the reason why he said, “I don’t respect him.” Shaq compared the beleaguered point guard to his partner Joel Embiid and had to credit Embiid for being resilient for the team while Simmons has been absent.

“The difference between him (Embiid) and his soft partner is he can take criticism without being a crybaby and he still wants to play,” O’Neal said about the Sixers teammates.

Equal-Opportunity Critic

O’Neal is an equal-opportunity critic, and he has been hard on Embiid over the years. Embiid took some of Shaq’s and Barkley’s words very personally in the past. However, when it comes to Simmons, Shaq felt that Embiid had been the asset the team needed while Simmons was allowing criticisms to stop his team’s success.

Embiid recently led the 76ers’ charge to a 105-87 win over the Lakers on Thursday night. Embiid dropped a strong 26 points and is playing at an All-Star level in Simmons’ absence.

“Me and Charles have been on him. We stay on him. We tell him to his face what he needs to do. He didn’t cry. He didn’t say ‘I want to be traded’, he didn’t complain about mistreatment, and that’s the difference. That’s why I like him and respect him.”

Hurry Up And Wait

Simmons is signed to the 76ers through the 2024-25 season. In addition, the Sixers understand the leverage that provides them and, according to reports, will wait on the best deal possible.

After a season where he was highly criticized for his post-season low field goal percentages, Simmons wants a trade from a city he feels is too critical of his abilities.

Additionally, Simmons has refused to play, instead citing mental health reasons, which is convenient in many people’s opinion. However, center Joel Embiid looks more and more like an MVP favorite. He is leading the Sixers great 29-19 start; the team is now two games behind Miami, who is in first place.

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A King’s Ransom

The Sacramento Kings were aggressively seeking to trade for Simmons. Players like Buddy Hield (C), Harrison Barnes (F), and Richaun Holmes (C) were potential assets. However, they have stopped pursuing a deal.

With the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline looming, Philadelphia’s price is high for their star, and it will prolong what seems for many as the inevitable parting of the ways.

Additionally, a rumor floated that James Harden and the Brooklyn Nets were interested, but new reports deemed that inaccurate.

Shaq’s Respect

“The other guy [Simmons], I don’t respect and I’ve been thinking about it, he’s missing the whole season because they asked your coach a question, ‘can we win with you?’ and your coach gave a funny answer to tell you in the summertime you need to work on your game.”

During last year’s playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers’ made comments about Simmons that reportedly seemed like a personal attack.

The Funny Answer

A reporter asked Rivers if he thought Simmons could be the point guard on a potential Sixers championship team.

“I don’t even know the answer to that right now,” Rivers said.

What Shaq describes as a “funny answer” taken the wrong way by Simmons has him and the Sixers at an impasse. Now Shaq believes Simmons only represents a headache for the city of Brotherly Love.

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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.