Grade the Trade: 76ers snag MVP candidate in this blockbuster proposal

Joel Embiid, James Harden (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, James Harden (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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Zion Williamson, Joel Embiid, 76ers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

What are the downsides to the 76ers trading for Williamson?

The narrative with Zion starts with his health. Having missed more games than played casts a massive question mark on whether the longevity his contract presupposes is truly imbued with the perceived shelf life at face value.

With Embiid already having a stature as one of the less durable superstars in the league, adding Williamson will undoubtedly macerate the 76ers’ glass bridge with even more delicacy. Oh, and have we already forgotten that Philadelphia does not have the most conducive environment for exhibiting patience? The lack of durability, despite the elevated ceiling, only gives the 76ers a slimmer margin of error in building the roster and providing insurance beneath them.

Aside from his injury history, expecting an Embiid-Williamson frontcourt to simply flourish seamlessly borders on overt optimism. Both players are most effective when isolating in the post, and while Zion has a good amount of experience playing alongside a conventional big man, he’s never played with a center who commands the sort of defensive focus the reigning MVP garners on a nightly basis.

Ultimately, given the turmoil around the Philadelphia 76ers organization, a high-risk, high-reward move like trading Harden for Zion Williamson may not be a safe option at all, but it could be just what the franchise needs to truly escape from yet another toxic saga that could easily start a domino of bad things if left untended for too long. After all, the pros of this deal far transcend the cons, despite how similarly lofty they are.

And that speaks volumes.

Grade: A-

Next. 10 way-too-early 2024 trade deadline candidates 76ers should monitor. dark