Here we are, less than a month from the NBA trade deadline and Ben Simmons has yet to speak for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Meanwhile, franchise mainstay Joel Embiid is playing like an MVP candidate, averaging 27.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals per game to keep the 76ers competitive and in the playoff picture. .
At 27, Embiid is in the prime of his career. He’s playing his best basketball and, more importantly, he’s been healthy, aside from a tough fight with COVID-19 earlier in the season.
Embiid is currently in the midst of one of the most dominant stretches in 76ers history, joining Wilt Chamberlain and Allen Iverson as the only players to score 30+ points in eight straight games.
Joel Embiid has scored over 30 PTS in 8 games in a row 🔥
Take a look at some of his best plays from the historic streak!pic.twitter.com/r6lcmD2izS
— NBA (@NBA) January 13, 2023
The 76ers are 7-1 in that span, which shows how truly impactful Embiid has been. But in an era where there are multiple All-Stars on every championship team, the 76ers seem to have a ceiling on their championship aspirations without a co-star.
Simmons was and is supposed to be that guy, but he hasn’t shown up for work. Tobias Harris signed big money to be the third star, signing a five-year, $180 million deal with the 76ers during the 2019 offseason, but that hasn’t exactly worked out either.
Now, both of Embiid’s co-stars find their names in trade rumours, but there hasn’t been much movement on that front.
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, has met with 76ers president Elton Brand and general manager Daryl Morey, but “the parties remain deadlocked over the immediate future.” of the All-Star guard.
“Simmons is no closer to honoring the team’s hopes of returning to the floor this season, and the Sixers’ high asking price hasn’t brought Simmons any closer to a potential trade,” Wojnarowski added.
As for Harris, it’s going to be hard to find a commercial suitor who will accept the remaining $80 million on her contract. Kyle Kuzma put it best when he tweeted, “How the hell do you pack 80 Ms?” in response to a Harris trade rumor.
Given how much is still owed to him, Harris is likely to stay in Philly.
so with everything Having said that, are the 76ers really going to waste a year of Embiid’s prime because they’re too stubborn to win back a reasonable trade package for Simmons? As of now, the answer appears to be yes.
According to the latest trade information from Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, Philadelphia’s top stakeholders “are lined up hoping someone on par with (Damian) Lillard, James Harden, Bradley Beal or Jaylen Brown is available by this deadline or later.” late this summer.
I get it. It makes sense. But also, who’s to say any of those players will be available this summer?
In the event the talks pick up, let’s take a look at how certain deals might play out in a Simmons trade.
Who is Embiid’s ideal co-star in a Simmons trade?
When it comes to finding the perfect fit alongside Embiid, players like Lillard, Harden, Beal and Brown would work perfectly. Like most, I think Embiid’s best choice for a co-star is a shooting guard or flanker.
Brown might be the most ideal option alongside Embiid, but would the Celtics trade a cornerstone of the franchise for one of their biggest rivals? And would Simmons even be an upgrade for Boston in that scenario? I say no.
Same goes for the Wizards and Beal, or the Trail Blazers and Lillard: Is Simmons such an upgrade that they’d pay the 76ers’ asking price? Probably not.
With Harden and the Nets, Simmons’ fit makes more sense than any of the other places mentioned because they already have enough scoring with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but I also don’t see that happening because of Harden’s relationship with the other two superstars. .
So before the 76ers waste another MVP-worthy season for Embiid, why not lower the asking price and find players who can improve it? now?
An intriguing name that has cropped up in some rumors in the trade rumor mill is Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton. The Kings seem willing to part ways with anyone to alter the direction of the franchise, and Haliburton would be a great opportunity for the 76ers’ present and future. You’d have to add another player because Haliburton still has a rookie-scale deal, and sharpshooter Buddy Hield makes enough money to see him through.
The problem here is that the 76ers would likely ask for one (or several) of the Kings’ first-round picks, and that could be where Sacramento hangs up the phone. Especially when you consider the odd fit between De’Aaron Fox and Simmons.
But thinking about Haliburton and Hield being paired with Embiid and the current 76ers roster brings them closer to contending for a title, there’s no question about it.
This is just one example of a potential trade that could improve the Sixers’ title chances along with Embiid’s monster season thus far, and it’s the closest he could get to the other franchise saying yes.
The point is this: Embiid’s best fit is a guard or wing who scores from the perimeter or midrange, and it’s an added bonus if they can create for others.
The 76ers should be doing everything they can to replace the Simmons void with a player of that makeup as soon as possible before Embiid’s prime passes him by and the years of “The Process” fade away without a single championship banner holding him back. show.