5 Stars Joel Embiid should quietly be recruiting right now

Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Philadelphia 76ers are enduring another trade drama. James Harden requested to move on over the summer, but there is no deal in sight. Who knows if Harden will play for the Sixers while he waits, but Philly’s focus should be on Joel Embiid and his happiness with the franchise.

Tyrese Maxey has star written all over him, and the 22-year-old will be asked to do more if Harden moves on. Could Maxey averaged 25 points and five assists per game to help the 76ers stay in contention? Do not rule it out.

Philadelphia is trying to create cap space next summer and hopes to get enough in return for Harden to be able to acquire a third star. They want to contend for a championship, but it won’t be easy. The Sixers need more talent, and it is on Embiid to help acquire it. The reigning MVP needs to convince someone to join him in the summer of 2024, but who?

5. Donovan Mitchell

Mitchell is extension eligible, but no deal is coming. Next summer becomes decision time for both sides. The four-time All-Star is owed $35.4 million for the 2024-25 season and has a $37.0 million player option in the summer of 2025. Expect Mitchell to decline that option, which means Cleveland must extend or trade him before next season’s deadline. If not, they risk losing him for nothing in free agency.

The 76ers will have two first-round picks and three swaps to trade next summer. Is that enough to land Donovan Mitchell? Cleveland will get multiple robust offers and should trade him to the highest bidder. The Sixers will struggle to be that team, but getting Mitchell on board would help their cause.

The Philadelphia 76ers would have a small backcourt with defensive issues if they traded for Donovan Mitchell, but James Harden is not known for his D. The franchise could make it work, even if it is not the most seamless transition.