After showing great promise in the last two playoffs, the Sixers carried the weight of high expectations entering the 2019-20 campaign. But things just did not click for Philly from the get-go, as they struggled with inconsistencies throughout the regular season.
Their bad luck continued come playoff time, as Ben Simmons was unable to suit up due to a knee injury. Joel Embiid did his best to carry the underachieving team. But it was no use, as the Sixers got humiliated in four games, leaving the franchise with plenty of unanswered questions regarding its future.
Head coach Brett Brown will likely be the team’s scapegoat throughout this mess. Pundits are also calling for the long-overdue breakup of the Embiid-Simmons tandem. Some even believe that both All-Stars will be booted out of Philly if the right deal comes along.
While the Sixers have kept mum regarding the fate of their two best players so far, they will definitely have a lot of offers if they do explore the trade market. Here are five superstars that the Sixers should make a run for in the offseason.
Beal’s phenomenal 2019-20 campaign once again went for naught for the Wizards. His name has been involved in trade talks for quite some time now, and the Sixers might as well throw their hat in the ring.
Philly could certainly use an upgrade at the wings. Josh Richardson and Shake Milton have been solid, but Beal simply gives them a reliable scorer who can light it up on a consistent basis. Plus, the Sixers would lose some scoring in the event that they do give up either Simmons or Embiid. Beal alleviates those concerns, as he notched 30.5 points on 45.5 percent FG shooting and 35.3 percent from deep this season.
This one is a bit far-fetched. But when you think about it, Philadelphia actually has the most enticing pieces to offer for Milwaukee to give up the reigning NBA MVP.
A blockbuster package involving Embiid or Simmons (or even both) should make up for the amount of star power that the Bucks will lose. Again, this is a long shot for the Sixers, but Giannis is such a game-changer that they should at least consider offering a possible sign-and-trade deal.
This is all circumstantial, depending on the Bucks’ fate in the ongoing playoffs. If Milwaukee once again fails to at least emerge out of the East, Philly should get that offer ready.
Skilled centers are such a rarity these days, and some fans believe the Sixers should hang on to Embiid. Maybe he just needs a traditional point guard to steer the way and help make the most out of his talents.
Despite his age, Chris Paul is still considered as the league’s “point god”. Simmons was a good facilitator and his unselfishness and court vision did help Philly a lot. However, Paul’s playmaking is just on a different level. Plus, he’ll knock down those wide-open 3-pointers when Embiid kicks the ball out.
CP3’s stock is at an all-time high right now after his amazing turnaround performance for the Oklahoma City Thunder. His massive, but expiring contract next season will attract a lot of takers and Philly should re-consider this option.
In the event that the Sixers do keep Simmons and move Embiid, a possible reunion with Orlando Magic center Vucevic isn’t a bad idea. After all, an All-Star for an All-Star seems to be a fair deal for both sides who are looking to shake things up.
The Montenegrin big man has improved leaps and bounds since his rookie year with the Sixers in the 2011-12 season. Losing Embiid leaves a gaping hole in the middle for Philly, but Vucevic will likely fill that void. The pair of talented centers posted almost identical shooting percentages this season, with Embiid posting a slight edge in points and rebounds. Both have played phenomenal in the bubble so far, but it’s Vucecic’s team that is still in the running after stealing Game 1 from the Bucks.
Also, Vucevic’s laid back personality is in stark contrast with Embiid’s, which might be a breath of fresh air for the Sixers’ culture moving forward.
While VO’s star status is still up in the air after recovering from a serious quad tendon tear, he is still relatively young at 28 and can still regain his old form. Like most of the players in this list, Oladipo will also be in the final year of his contract next season. He will be a low-risk but high-reward option for Philly since they might not even need to shell out a lot to attain his services. The two-time All-Star is a great two-way player and would give Philly another go-to guy in the post-Embiid-Simmons era.
Plus, he played great in Indy’s last two playoff games, despite coming up short both times. Philly needs to maximize all the worth they can get from their trading pieces. VO should be a good consolation prize if they can’t get any bigger names.