With Joel Embiid out of commission for the foreseeable future, the Philadelphia 76ers could very well lose their chance to win the chamionship this season. However, the team isn’t shutting him down just yet, and should he manage to return, they should remain a threat no matter their seeding come playoff time.
But to do that, the front office shouldn’t assume a defeatist robe and rest on their laurels. The trade deadline is just a few twitches away, and given the litany of players expected to hit the market, the 76ers should be active on their phones.
Here are three low-risk trades they should consider.
1. 76ers trade for a savvy temporary Embiid replacement
Embiid will never be replaced by anyone, but the 76ers aren’t wide-eyed to that fact. On the interim, they simply need someone who’s battle-tested and can hold down the fort while they await the reigning MVP’s fate and gun for staying power in the playoff picture.
Kelly Olynyk should be an attractive option for Philadelphia. The Utah Jazz have made him available for taking, but he still shouldn’t cost a fortune to acquire. That being said, he is one of the most in-demand big men in the market to the point where the 76ers would have to overpay a tad for his services.
With Olynyk being productive enough while fitting into the 76ers’ edict to avoid chasing players who can hamper their financial flexibility, two second-rounders shouldn’t hurt. He’s a clear upgrade over Paul Reed and Mo Bamba, and while his defense leaves a lot to be desired, he’s heady and physical enough on that end to compensate. And we haven’t even talked about his floor-spacing ability and savvy playmaking out of the post.