The Philadelphia 76ers have been without the services of Ben Simmons throughout the 2021-22 season. During a recent episode of Inside the NBAHall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal weighed in on Sitting Simmons and called him a “crybaby” for how he handled the situation with the Sixers.

On his personal podcast “The Big Podcast,” O’Neal revealed that he received direct messages from Simmons on social media regarding the “crybaby” comment.

“He acts like a baby and he kind of got into my DMs,” O’Neal said. “He said some things and I said some things back. All I said was you leave your man [Sixers teammate Joel Embiid] there and you need to play. That’s all I said. He was probably mad because I was his LSU brothers and we still are.”

Shaq added that Simmons puts Embiid in a tough spot.

“I stick with the big guys because I care about them,” O’Neal said on a Jan. 27 episode of Inside the NBA. “I want them to play a certain way. I want them to play at a certain level. The difference between [Embiid] and her sweet partner [Simmons] that is, he can take criticism without being a whiner and still wants to play. Me and Charles [Barkley] … We said [Embiid] before him what he should 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 love and respect him “The other guy, I don’t respect him. Great players get criticized. But great players also accept criticism and perform. So that other guy, I don’t respect him. I would get rid of him.”

Simmons has been absent from the Sixers since head coach Doc Rivers kicked him out of practice on Oct. 19. Subsequently, Simmons was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team and hasn’t really been heard from since.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on October 22 that Simmons had informed the Sixers that he was not mentally ready to play and would be meeting with medical professionals. Tuesday, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that Simmons practiced at the team’s facility in case he was moved at the trade deadline.

“It’s been seven months since he asked the Sixers to explore a trade for him and nearly four months since returning to Philadelphia,” Shelburne wrote. “He hasn’t participated in a meaningful practice or even a film session since. He’s just been there: in his body but never in his mind.”

Sixers president Daryl Morey said he was looking to acquire a star player in exchange for Simmons.

Even without Simmons’ services, the Sixers are still the third seed in the Eastern Conference and trail the Chicago Bulls by just 1.5 games for first place. With Embiid having an MVP season, the Sixers have won five of their last six games, with the only loss being a 106-103 loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.