What are the downsides of this trade for the Philadelphia 76ers?
Well, the biggest downside of this deal is still the very fact that Philly is sending out someone like Joel Embiid, one of the league’s best players, for a question mark like Holmgren. While this question mark is quite the sterling one, it is inarguable that it’s still a risky exchange. Even if Holmgren pans out and becomes a perennial All-Star, MVP-level players like Embiid don’t come around too often.
Anointing a hypothetical to serve as the fulcrum of a return package for someone like Embiid is already a loss. After all, this will force the 76ers to go through another exhausting stretch of rebuilding — this time with less incentive given the league’s flattened draft odds. Unlike before, the franchise can’t simply just bottom out and be guaranteed a coveted talent. Thus, a more resolute nucleus should already be set.
In addition, the first-round selections to be sent to Philly in this deal are far from inspiring. In fact, the 76ers are simply regaining one of their own which they previously dangled away in the Al Horford trade. The Thunder and Clippers, owners of the other two first-rounders, are not expected to even be near the cellar for the foreseeable future.
Lastly, with OKC boasting an embarrassment of riches with their draft picks, parting with just three is too much of a bargain for someone like Embiid. If anything, this should give the 76ers a layer of reasonable audacity to seek out much more.