Why the 76ers should look elsewhere instead
If Tobias Harris is the biggest name on the outgoing return package for Damian Lillard, pulling the trigger would be a no-brainer. However, having him as arguably the least significant part of the deal does not bode well for the 76ers as they embark on a more sustainable design in the art of team-building.
Acquiring Lillard obviously has massive merits, but Philly may not jump at the opportunity if it requires them to mortgage their future — their safety net behind Embiid. In addition, there’s no guarantee that the 76ers will enjoy the services of a contented Lillard, who has indicated by all means possible that his lone preference is to be traded to Miami.
Instead, what the 76ers should do is to find takers for Harden and Harris’ contracts either individually or as a bundle and hope that an interested team flips an intriguing piece of draft capital in return. Maxey is too good of a prospect and win-now piece to easily part with, and even if Lillard is at the other side of the scale, there’s no reason to believe that a core of Embiid, Maxey, and whoever the 76ers get for Harden and/or Harris has no chance of surpassing an Embiid-Lillard one.
Ultimately, this trade proposal is appealing on the surface, but requires both teams, especially the Philadelphia 76ers, to act with reckless abandon and gamble with an unhappy camper. The talent is one thing, but in a league with increasing parity, the intangibles — such as the sheer will to be on a team — start to matter just as much.