Grade the Mock Trade: 76ers rebuild, send Joel Embiid to the Knicks

Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, 76ers
Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, 76ers /
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With the James Harden saga now having been resolved, albeit in lackadaisical fashion, the Philadelphia 76ers have no choice but to accelerate their delayed preparation for the upcoming campaign. While the 2023-24 season is still a couple of months away, the front office still has work to do in filling out the roster that can give them a chance to once again contend for a title.

However, that final sentence could be adorned with an asterisk sooner than later. Given all the banality and dysfunction that have surrounded the franchise in recent years atop the lack of meaningful on-court accolades to validate their modus, the 76ers would be wise to brace for the ugly possibility of an even worse ending showing itself later down the road.

The Philadelphia 76ers are rapidly approaching a dangerous zone

Players like Joel Embiid who can viably be planted as a true franchise cornerstone don’t grow on trees. Philadelphia is lucky to have him at the driver’s seat, but surrounding him with ticking bombs is probably not the best way to build around him.

Sure, he’s not faultless and has come up short at times, but building a sustainable squad that can win consistently requires fostering an environment that can cultivate a team into becoming an actual team. Going after the shortcut by forcibly chasing players without the same long-term mentality is not only counterintuitive, but also risky. Unfortunately, the bumps that have thwarted the franchise recently has forced them into an alert mode of a win-or-bust mentality.

In short, should the 76ers once again fail to make actual progress — which is murkier now with the Harden ordeal — Embiid could decide to venture out instead and look for a new ship to captain. Here is one trade proposal that reflects how Philly can operate if the reigning MVP eventually wants out.