Let’s fix the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Philadelphia 76ers have been one of the most discussed teams in the NBA over the past half-decade and that hasn’t changed this year. A team bemoaned by outsiders for “tanking” and yet beloved by the Philadelphia faithful. A team that came one shot (four bounces) from possibly hoisting a title. A team that decided to double down on size and defense entering a year in which teams are jacking up three-pointers at rates never seen.
Through it all, Philadelphia has been dominant with Joel Embiid on the court, puzzling with both their superstars, and atrocious with bench-heavy lineups.
While Philadelphia fans have at the very least been wildly entertained by everything 76ers, the time for championships is at the forefront. This season’s gamble to zag while everyone zigged has produced moments all too familiar in the past two years for Philadelphia. They are a very good team who appears to be short of true title contention.
An injury to Embiid is never a positive, but that doesn’t mean a positive can’t arise.
Al Horford has been frustrated by his role on the team as his swiss-army big-man calling card game has been tough to integrate into a system that already has the most prototypical back-to-basket All-Star center and the least qualified shooting point guard in NBA history. That said, last night’s game between Philadelphia and the Boston Celtics reminded everyone of Horford’s potential value.
In a return home, Horford slid to the starting center position and posted one of his strongest performances on the season posting a +19 while spreading the floor and adding playmaking to go along with his top-level defense. It was a perfect reminder of just why Boston had been such a tough opponent for Philadelphia in the past.
Embiid should be sidelined for a while as he battles back from his torn radical collateral ligament. The sidelining of Embiid provides Horford the perfect opportunity to find his place in Philadelphia. It also provides the perfect opportunity for Philadelphia to showcase everything Horford brings to a team.
There is practically zero debate that Philadelphia is at their best with Joel Embiid on the floor. More than likely, Simmons isn’t going anywhere as his trade value is one of the most highly debated among all NBA players and he has endeared himself to the Philadelphia faithful.
While Horford a tremendous player, his fit doesn’t align with those two stars and thus provides Philadelphia less value. That decrease in value, coupled with his contract, and potential return that Philadelphia could receive as he bolsters his impact over the next month make it integral to move on from him as Embiid gets closer to returning to action.
Over the past couple of weeks, Philadelphia has been linked to several rumors including a near dozen of player whom they might be pursue. A Robert Covington reunion has often been discussed and was written about on this site. Fit goes a long way, but to turn from Horford to Covington doesn’t feel like the needle push Philadelphia needs. Trade rumors and speculative writing aren’t for the feign of heart so let’s go big. Let’s propose a trade that really moves the needle and provides some value to all involved.
The trade below is a three-team trade and consists of ten players, which is nearly unheard of.
- PHILADELPHIA 76ERS RECEIVE: Robert Covington, Jeff Teague, Aron Baynes, Mikal Bridges
- PHOENIX SUNS RECEIVE: Al Horford, Treveon Graham, 76ers 2020 second-round pick, Mavericks 2020 second-round pick
- MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES RECEIVE: Mike Scott, Zhaire Smith, Kyle O’Quinn, Tyler Johnson, Hawks 2020 second-round pick, Suns 2022 second-round pick
This trade is not an indication of what I believe will happen. It is merely a trade I would like to see happen while playing within the confines of a seemingly beneficial trade for all parties.