Grade the Trade: 76ers keep up with Bucks, Celtics in blockbuster proposal

Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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76ers, Zach LaVine, Joel Embiid. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Can adding Zach LaVine to the mix bring the 76ers closer to contention?

Forcibly hoarding talented players like they’re collectibles doesn’t pan out more than it does, but in the face of more formidable competition, keeping up becomes mandatory. Sure, chemistry is a big equalizer, but even that is not a particularly resounding advantage of this 76ers team compared to the likes of the Bucks and Celtics.

Still, for a franchise in implied agreement that even just removing Harden from the equation would be almost akin to addition by subtraction, an addition by actual addition should be a giant missive for the front office moving forward. For that reason alone, even sans the presence of an actual rumor floating around, Philadelphia should go after Zach LaVine.

Efficient high-volume scorers with significant roster and cost control who can be more than serviceable on defense like LaVine definitely don’t grow on trees. Conventionally, the Bulls would be ludicrous for even giving the thought of trading him more than just guarded curiosity, but Chicago has all the reasons to hold a fire sale. Hence, Philadelphia should pounce. After all, LaVine would give the team that much-need third star to keep up and stabilize both its present and future.

Shoehorning LaVine next to Tyrese Maxey would force the 76ers coaching staff to double down on making the latter a playmaker more than before. While that would definitely have its own set of growing pains, the potential return would be very alluring for his long-term profile as a tenable star to build around. LaVine is a dangerous scorer whose play style will mesh well with Joel Embiid’s inside game and Maxey’s expected improvement as a table-setter.

Oh, and for the weak of heart, landing the athletic guard should give Embiid less incentive about serving some sourgraping episodes on social media.