The franchise’s plan is that Brand will continue to oversee basketball operations, sources tell ESPN. Among the Sixers senior leadership, there’s still a strong desire to keep the franchise’s two young All-Stars — Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons — together, sources said. The Sixers are determined to let a new coaching staff search for ways to maximize Embiid and Simmons together before even entering into a discussion on trade scenarios.
HoopsHype spoke with five executives, three coaches, three scouts, and two general managers on the condition of anonymity to get their takes on whether to move either Embiid or Simmons or keep the two All-Stars and restructure the roster elsewhere. Five of the talent evaluators said to keep both stars, another five said to trade Embiid, and the remaining three voted to trade Simmons.
“If I were a new coach, I’d like to coach them together for a year first before trading either, but if I had to pick, I’d trade Embiid,” one Western Conference coach told HoopsHype. “I think Simmons is more versatile. I’d just surround him with shooters and open the floor up like Milwaukee for Giannis. There can be more creativity with Simmons on the offensive end. I would try to trade Embiid to Miami and get some of their young, hungry shooters and guards like Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, etc. Ideally, I’d get Bam, but I doubt Miami would trade him."
“Embiid has big-time talent,” one longtime Western Conference executive told HoopsHype. “If healthy, I would be reluctant to trade him. As talented as Simmons is, I’m skeptical about his shooting ever really improving. Horford is the ultimate shooting five. I think Harris’ best position is the four.”
Another executive echoed Simmons’ shooting woes as a major red flag, and the executive deviated from the notion that small ball and a bunch of shooters around Simmons can win at a high level. “For sure, I’d trade Ben Simmons because Embiid is a much better player, but you have to factor the injury factor for Embiid,” one longtime Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype. “He’s been fortunate to stay healthy, but how long can that last? Ben had knee and back injuries too. It’s hard to build a team around Simmons because of his deficiencies. When you have a big guy that’s dominant, all the best teams are big. Toronto, Milwaukee, the Lakers. If you have a player as good as Embiid, it’s no question. I think Simmons is overrated.”
“I would keep them both,” one Western Conference executive told HoopsHype. “You’re not going to get equal value in a trade. The issue is the Horford and Harris contracts. If I had to trade one, it would be Simmons. I think Embiid is too dominant and able to control the game on both ends of the floor. The only reason I would trade him is if I’m afraid of his medical because they should know better than any other team.”
NBA Central: Woj says the chances of the Philadelphia Sixers breaking up Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are 'fairly remote' "I think you’ll see them continue to try to build around Simmons and Embiid." (Via ESPN)
You brought up Brett Brown. The 76ers are in the playoffs. When you hear people talk about whether Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid can coexist together, what do you think of that? People wonder if they have to trade one of those guys to balance out the team? What do you think? Lloyd Pierce: I think it’s blasphemy. I think in this league, the challenge is, can you win? Are you a winner? If you’re that guy, it doesn’t matter who you play with. Winners get extra rebounds, run the floor, attack, defend, compete. To think you have a top-10 and a top-15 talent and you have two of them, and they can’t co-exist? I think they both impact winning. I’m not getting rid of one to go find another because you might not find another. It’s hard to find top-15 talent that impacts winning and is competitive. Both of those guys, I think, have shown that. They were a basket away from going to the Conference Finals last year. Chemistry is real. You have to have team chemistry. You have to develop it. You have to continue to work at it. Impacting winning and competing is real as well. I think both of those guys have that. I’m more concerned with how do you make it work, not let’s get rid of it and try another route. I don’t really agree with that approach for any team.
What was once a young, promising and exciting Philadelphia team has been grossly mismanaged by general manager Elton Brand and with an inevitable early playoff exit, it will likely lead to serious shakeup. According to league sources, it could even come down to between Simmons and Embiid. Both are proven superstars in today’s NBA and either of them would bring back a lion’s share of assets to allow Philadelphia to rebuild on the fly. That means that the rest of the NBA will circle this situation like vultures, waiting to swoop in and take advantage of an already inept Sixers front office.
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid is a combination that a lot of people in the NBA, including the Cavs, feel like is disastrous, and it can't work long term. And there is one member of the Cavs organization that believes eventually, maybe even as soon as this summer, if Philadelphia has an earlier than expected exit in the postseason again... there's one member of the Cavs organization that believes that Philadelphia is going to have to pick between Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. That that pairing is going to have to be split up
The Cavs, of course, would have interest in Simmons. He possesses the talent and versatility to immediately alter the team’s future. The Sixers would want a haul for the 2016 No. 1 pick who is locked up through 2023-24 and will probably be named to the All-Defense First Team. But the Cavs believe they have enough to assemble an enticing package, especially with recent first-rounders littering the roster, a top six pick coming in October and a future first from the Milwaukee Bucks.
One executive who spoke with cleveland.com believes the Sixers will need to choose between Simmons and Joel Embiid -- if Philly has an earlier-than-expected playoff exit.
One of the interesting possibilities I’ve heard being kicked around is Russell for Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons. The 76ers could use a point guard who can score and run the show — and shoot. Some believe the pairing of Simmons and big man Joel Embiid isn’t viable in their pursuit of a championship. Simmons, as one source told me, is probably the best player the Warriors could possibly get for Russell, just considering the needs of the Warriors and their potential trade partners.
Despite being a lightning rod for criticism in Philadelphia, Simmons says he enjoys playing in front of a passionate fan base. "I love being in Philadelphia. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," he said. "I think this is the perfect place for me. I just handle [criticism] how it comes."
Simmons will have a poison pill restriction in his contract as part of signing a rookie extension. For trade purposes, his $8.1M salary for 2019-20 would be used as outgoing salary and $29.6M (the average over 6 years) would count as incoming for the acquiring team.
It’s tough to predict which players may be available in the long term, but as I wrote in January: Teams are monitoring Ben Simmons (Sixers), Devin Booker (Suns), and Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves). All three players are locked into contracts now, but if the Suns or Wolves keep losing or if Simmons takes a back seat in Philadelphia, situations can sour. The true prize, however, will hit the market in two years.
It’s early in that process. Leonard’s shot just fell through the net. But one Western Conference executive brought up a name that could be a Simmons trade target: LeBron James. “I think they very well might explore that,” said a rival executive of Philadelphia. James doesn’t have a no-trade clause, but he shares the same Klutch Sports agent with Ben Simmons in Rich Paul. James has two seasons left on his deal before he can become a free agent.
A source who spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity said general manager Elton Brand made it known to ownership sometime before the trade deadline that the organization needed to consider trading Simmons because the youngster was simply not coachable, and was a regular-season player annually exposed in the playoffs. The idea was immediately shot down, and Brand was told that Simmons and Embiid were untouchable – even if Anthony Davis was the prize.
Philadelphia, which could put together a fairly competitive offer for Davis, currently has no plans to pursue a deal, sources said. Rich Paul of Klutch Sports represents Davis and Ben Simmons and a deal centered on swapping his clients is highly unlikely. The 6-foot-10 All-Star desires to play in a big market that’s committed to winning, sources said.
The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly sought Ben Simmons in a potential Jimmy Butler trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. Appearing on The Bill Simmons Podcast on Thursday, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor explained just how high the Timberwolves' asking price is for their disgruntled shooting guard: "One of the things that I've heard from a handful of sources is that—with the Sixers for example—the initial offer that they made, the counter-offer was like, 'We need Ben Simmons in a deal.'"
Philadelphia's potential package of Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and the Heat's unprotected 2021 pick didn't move the needle. It's unclear if the Spurs had interest in Markelle Fultz; the two sides never discussed him seriously, and the Sixers would not have parted with him, sources say. The Spurs made it clear any deal with Philly would require Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid (likely Simmons), and the Sixers weren't going anywhere near that, league sources say.
November 27, 2020 | 6:18 am EST Update
Real Madrid lost star guard Facu Campazzo to the NBA (the Denver Nuggets to be specific) and there is a reported possibility that this may also happen with another player of the team. According to Marca, Real Madrid forward Gabriel Deck will be using the exit clause on his contract with “Blancos” and sign with an NBA club even next week if his team doesn’t present him with an extension offer really soon. There are some NBA teams that have “shown an interest” for the Argentinian player and he’s ready to make the jump, unless something changes with his contract situation with Real.
One longtime league executive said the past week was the most hectic of his career. In addition to the draft and free agency crammed together in an abbreviated offseason, there are so many other less-publicized tasks that teams are trying to sort through, from COVID-19 protocols to fans possibly attending games to scheduling. It’s wild to think that regular-season games are scheduled to tip off in less than a month.
Olgun Uluc: An interesting development: Brisbane Bullets big-man, Tyrell Harrison, has been classified by the NBPA as eligible for the 2021 NBA Draft, his agent tells ESPN. The Kiwi is 21 years old, a legit 7-foot, and should get a minutes bump with Magnay gone. An intriguing, raw prospect.
For example, every day at 5 a.m., inside room 950 in the Gran Destino (where all the top-seeded teams stayed), Masai Ujiri would wake up, read his book, hop on the Peloton, and work out before heading down for breakfast. He thought nothing of his daily ritual until one morning, several weeks into the bubble, when he got a text from another former player of his: “Morning boss, you good up there?” The text was from Kawhi Leonard—Finals MVP with the Raptors, now a star on the Clippers—who was staying in room 850, directly below his old boss. Ujiri had been waking Kawhi up with his noisy workouts for weeks, but Kawhi was reluctant to say anything.
Ujiri told Kawhi that he would stop for the time being and joked that he would continue again when the Raptors met the Clippers in the Finals, messing with Kawhi’s sleep. Kawhi responded with the kind of trash talk that’s best read aloud in Kawhi’s dry monotone: “Haha, you know the saying ‘Don’t poke the bear’? I’m gonna call the NBA on you…get you out the bubble.”
NBA star Markelle Fultz is taking Wakanda Forever literally … he just got a foot-long image of the Black Panther tattooed on his thigh — and it’s AMAZING!! TMZ Sports has learned back in the summer, Fultz hit up “Ink Master” star Roly T-Rex about getting some ink done. And, with Chadwick Boseman’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement at its peak … the two got to thinking a “Black Panther” piece would be perfect.
November 27, 2020 | 1:58 am EST Update
And as is usually the case when the Celtics don’t turn a highly publicized rumor into a reality, we’re getting a reason why that deal never went through. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Celtics were never really that high on Turner. Boston apparently didn’t see him as a very big upgrade to their frontcourt, and was even exploring other deals to trade Turner had the deal with Indiana come to fruition. “Talking to people and reading the tea leaves as best I could, it really comes down to the Celtics didn’t want Myles Turner,” Lowe said on The Lowe Post Podcast. “I did hear from some teams around the league that the Celtics have done some preliminary research on what Myles Turner’s trade value would have been to them had they acquired him either in this deal or in a separate deal, and obviously didn’t like what they saw.”
For quite some time during his 2020 offseason, Marc Gasol was rumored to be considering a return to Europe and his native Spain by joining Barcelona. Now a player of the Los Angeles Lakers, Gasol shut down those rumors as pure speculation, saying that there wasn’t even a talk with Barcelona. “That was not accurate at all,” Gasol said when asked how close he was to going back to Spain during first official presser by the Los Angeles Lakers. “I think someone made that assumption just because I’m not very ‘out there’ and communicate on things. I think people just try to make that decision for me and thought that was a very good time to try it. I never stated that. I was never close to that. I never even spoke to Barcelona about it.” “That came as surprise to me but that’s the world we’re living now. You’re hearing something and everybody runs with it,” Gasol added.