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The perfect trade 76ers must offer Thunder for Kemba Walker

Kemba Walker 76ers Thunder

The Philadelphia 76ers are at a crossroads this offseason after yet another bitter end to their season. After finishing atop the Eastern Conference standings in the regular season, the Sixers bowed out of the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs to the Atlanta Hawks, losing a Game 7 on their home floor. The majority of Philly fans are calling for the team to ship away Ben Simmons, who had another disappointing postseason. The Sixers’ front office is surveying the trade market for the two-time All-Star.

Still, at only 24 years old, Philadelphia may still be reluctant to give up on Simmons. If they are not completely at peace with letting go of their 2016 No. 1 overall pick, perhaps the Sixers can look elsewhere to improve their chances of winning an NBA championship, all while keeping the Joel Embiid-Ben Simmons tandem intact. Philadelphia could do that by swinging a trade for Kemba Walker of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

They wouldn’t even need to deal Simmons to land the veteran point guard. In this deal, the Sixers would probably only need to part ways with Tobias Harris. They also probably won’t need to attach a first-round pick and could likely get away with just including a second-rounder to entice the Thunder to this deal. If Sam Presti insists on taking yet another first-rounder, perhaps Philly’s 28th overall pick in the upcoming 2021 NBA draft should do.

So, why should the Philadelphia 76ers do this deal?

Firstly, this gives the Sixers a capable shot creator and playmaker on the perimeter. They have been longing for a guard whom they could just give the ball to and a make play. Philly hoped Simmons would turn into that for them, but that hasn’t panned out quite well for them due to his lack of a perimeter game.

While Simmons is elite at finding and feeding open teammates, his inability and unwillingness to take it himself makes him somewhat predictable. Harris is capable of creating his own shot from time to time, but he isn’t someone they can go to exclusively to make plays. Walker, meanwhile, is adept at both creating for others and getting his own.

In connection to Walker’s ability to shot create, he could be the man they can go to during clutch situations. The Sixers have been missing someone they can entrust the ball to on the perimeter when the game is still hanging in the balance. Walker has made numerous big shots throughout his career. His clutch gene and composure in close games would help Philadelphia in these moments.

Furthermore, while Walker and Simmons could still share ball-handling duties, the 6-foot guard’s arrival should give the Sixers the option to play the Australian off the ball more. Simmons could thrive as a full-time forward with a legitimate playmaking guard alongside him.

Despite not needing to shell out a lot for Walker, there are still some risks in doing this deal if you’re Philadelphia. Walker has shown signs of wear and tear on his body after appearing in just 43 regular-season games for the Boston Celtics in 2020-21. He sat out back-to-back games as maintenance for his ailing knee, which he had surgery on during the 2020 offseason. If his injuries continue to be an issue, this wouldn’t bode well for them, especially come playoff time. Harris, meanwhile, is a couple of years younger and has a cleaner bill of health than the 31-year-old.

Nevertheless, Walker should be able to use this summer to rest and recuperate ahead of the 2021-22 season. Will he be sporting an Oklahoma City Thunder uniform by then? Or could the Philadelphia 76ers take a gamble by acquiring the four-time All-Star?