This was supposed to be the year for the Sixers. Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets were already eliminated, there’s no real powerhouse super team in the Western Conference that’s still kicking and Philadelphia was destined to make this their run. And then everything came crashing down in Game 7 against the Atlanta Hawks.

Not only did the Sixers lose Game 5 at home to the Hawks, they lost Game 7 at home as well, putting a bow on a really good regular season team that fizzled out in a heap of disappointment in the postseason yet again.

The offseason figures to be one for the Sixers that consists of a big time look in the mirror moment while also deciding whether or not to pull the trigger on some big moves. Here are two major decisions the Sixers must make this offseason after their playoff debacle.

Trade Ben Simmons or figure out a way to make it work

Ben Simmons will be the talk of the summer in Philadelphia.

While the defense is top tier, the offense is woefully bad, still. He was horrendous from the free-throw line in the postseason and it went as far as the Hawks going out of their way to go the “hack-a-Simmons” route in numerous games in the series. Capping off what was an utter embarrassment offensively for Simmons in the playoffs was a Game 7 pass when he had a wide open dunk.

With the Sixers trailing by two late in the 4th quarter, Simmons was working down on the block against Danilo Gallinari. He spun free and had a wide open layup or dunk, his choice. Instead, he passed to Matisse Thybulle who was fouled and would go on to make only one free-throw. Joel Embiid tossed Simmons directly under the bus after the game noting that he believed that was the turning point in Game 7.

“I’ll be honest. I thought the turning point was when we… had an open shot and we made one free throw…” – Joel Embiid.

Now the Sixers have to decide what to do with Simmons. His confidence is or at least was clearly ruined throughout the playoffs and he became such a liability on offense that it was as if Philadelphia was working with four players on that end of the court when Simmons was on the floor.

The problem the 76ers will run into with any Simmons trade is who wants to take on a guy in the middle of a max contract who at this point in his career still offers very little offensively? A trade of Simmons might be what the Sixers desire but they could end up having to part with more than just Simmons for someone to take on that salary. His trade value is essentially nothing right now given what transpired in the playoffs.

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Is there still a possibility it can work in Philly for Simmons? Obviously the initial reaction in the heat of the moment from Sixers fans is that they want him gone but perhaps after seeing his trade value, or lack thereof, they will realize the grass might not be greener. Still, it seems like the best thing for Simmons and the organization might be a fresh start. “The Process” is done, over with, and Philly just squandered its best opportunity to win a ring in what has become a wide open race this NBA postseason.

Is Doc Rivers it?

It’s rare to see a coach get the boot after just one season, but it did just happen in New Orleans as the Pelicans got rid of Stan Van Gundy. Philadelphia needs to figure out if Doc Rivers is it.

Rivers had plenty of struggles in the playoffs when coaching the Los Angeles Clippers over the last handful of years and those struggles continued in year one with Philadelphia. Some of the numbers are staggering.

The finger pointing towards the players can be done to an extent, but Rivers certainly carries some of the blame. When teams you are coaching are consistently blowing massive leads, it’s a trend that rest on your shoulders as well.

Some will point to awful in game adjustments, others will wonder why he kept stringing along Simmons when Atlanta would foul him in the allotted times where they could do so on purpose. All of it is valid and the Sixers have to at minimum at least assess Rivers’ season in Philly to see if it’s worth running it back for a second season.

Again, coaches in the NBA are rarely let go after just one year, but if the writing is already on the wall a move might be the best option. It’s likely that Rivers will be back but he will enter the 2021-22 season firmly on the hot seat if the Sixers don’t make a validated run in the playoffs.

There’s a lot for the Sixers to figure out this offseason. It starts with Ben Simmons, it ends with Doc Rivers.