Warriors Or Kings To Trade For Joel Embiid?
The Philadelphia 76ers were unceremoniously swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of this year’s NBA Playoffs. One day after their final loss of the year, head coach Brett Brown was shown the door.
Now the question is: who will follow him out?
Philly has two marquee stars on the roster: Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Up to this point, the pair has not come together in the way many had hoped they would. This has led to speculation that the organization would be better off moving one and building around the other.
Although Simmons was the one who got hurt and missed this year’s postseason, there is a decent case to be made for keeping him over Embiid. For one thing, he is younger. Two, he appears to be the easier player to build around. And three, long-term, Embiid is still viewed by many around the league as the bigger injury liability.
HoopsHype recently spoke to a couple of Eastern Conference executives. One of them felt like moving Embiid was the only logical option.
“I would trade Embiid,” he said. “He’s older and has injury concerns. I think it’s easier to fill in around Simmons. Some teams still value a player like him. You should try to get a young player with All-Star potential and a starter-level player.”
A coach in the Eastern Conference echoed that sentiment.
“I think you trade Embiid and turn Simmons into someone like Giannis (Antetokounmpo) or Pascal (Siakam),” he said. “Add shooting, find a cheap center but end the game with Horford at the five and Tobias at the four. You can’t get off Tobias or Al anyway. The roster fit doesn’t work, and it didn’t work from the start of the season.”
Embiid’s trade value is currently very high. Against Boston, the 26-year-old averaged 30 points, 12 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per outing. If the Sixers are going to move him, now is the time.
So what are the likeliest potential destinations?
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Joel Embiid Could Get Traded To The Warriors Or Kings
Two teams sit above the rest when it comes to a potential Embiid deal.
First – the Warriors. Embiid would be a perfect fit with Golden State both offensively and defensively. He is a great passer and would play well off Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on that side of the ball. Defensively, he is an excellent rim protector, something the former champs desperately need more of.
In terms of feasibility, a deal is definitely there to be made. All Golden State would need to do is go out and trade for a veteran with a big expiring contract like Rudy Gay. Then the organization packages that with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, their first rounder from the 2021 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 2021 top-3 protected pick, and spare parts.
It is a transaction that could work for both sides. Obviously Philly would most likely take a slight step back next year, but they did that anyway this season with Embiid on the roster. Simmons is only 24. Building around him should be the goal.
If a trade with the Warriors doesn’t materialize, one with the Sacramento Kings could.
Any deal for Embiid would have to start with Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley and Sacramento’s No. 12 overall selection in the 2020 NBA Draft. From there, minor adjustments would need to be made, but that would be the core.
Much like the Warriors deal, this is one that could benefit Philly long term as the organization builds around Simmons.
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Joel Embiid May Not Get Traded
For what is worth, Adrian Wojnarowski doesn’t seem to think Embiid will get moved this summer.
“I think the chances of [breaking up Simmons and Embiid] are fairly remote,” he said.
“I still think that, if they’re going to make a change at head coach, I think they’re likely to allow another coach to come in and try to make that partnership work. They’re still young players. The third postseason they had together, Simmons was out and couldn’t play, obviously, in this Boston series. You don’t get value when you trade players of that ilk.
“And, remember, these are both players under contract. They’re not at risk of losing somebody in free agency. … I think you’ll continue to see them try and build around Simmons and Embiid.”
The NBA is obviously working through some issues right now that will inevitably impact future salary cap projections. Once those issues do get resolved, though, speculation regarding Embiid’s status in Philly will likely only grow louder and louder.
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