NBA Rumor: Joel Embiid Trade?

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The early signals emanating from Philadelphia suggest that Morey, the 76ers’ new president of basketball operations, wants to give Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons every last chance to click before trading one of them. Houston, just to name one non-Nets option, could decide to wait to see if the Sixers’ stance changes. As wary as the Rockets must be about doing a deal of that magnitude with Morey, we’ve seen that front offices that know each other well often find it easier to collaborate on the biggest of trades.

But because everyone’s been talking about this Sixers group for so long, most of the takes are just recycled at this point. So what better time to get a fresh opinion from someone who was closer to Embiid and Co. than just about anyone. That’s right, former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie. The originator of “The Process” gave a rare interview on Friday, joining Pablo Torre on ESPN Daily. During the podcast, he shared his thoughts on the Embiid and Simmons trade talks. Torre: What do you think when you hear, invariably, rumors about ‘you know what, they gotta trade this guy?'” Hinkie: Oh gosh. Don’t people remember what it took to get them? For all of them. Getting a star player in the NBA is not impossibly hard, but close. It requires either an incredible amount of luck, or an amazing amount of time, or some other way to try and get at it. So what is Jo? 26? To have a young player who is nominally, in a traditional sense, just entering his prime, and say ‘oh we’ve got to blank.’ No, job one is you’ve got to get great players on your team, and he is one. And so, I’m not alone on this, you’d be loathe to think we have to do anything and we have to do anything that requires you to potentially move a great player. They don’t move very much for a reason, because people rightly don’t let them go very often for a reason.

Maybe Embiid and Simmons are destined for a breakup, but executives around the league say it would be shocking if it happened before next season—or during the season. The Rockets have experienced annual crash landings in the postseason, which Sixers fans can relate to. But you can’t simply blame the star players in either situation. The Sixers’ duo has had great success together, and in their own ways, play an efficient brand of basketball. The problem is the lack of an offensive initiator who can generate plays in the half-court to elevate their strengths.

What would you do with Philadelphia’s roster? Billy King: I would sit down with Doc and get his thoughts because he’s obviously seen them play. Then, you’ve got to look to tinker a little bit. I wouldn’t trade Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid to start because they’re two young talents. Now, if Doc says this guy I won’t be able to coach, then you have to explore it. You’ve got to look at Al Horford and if there’s a possibility of a trade there. They need more guys that can create off the dribble. You saw it in the playoffs when Ben wasn’t there. They don’t have a lot of guys that can create shots for other guys. I think they need more guys that can create shots or at least put the ball on the floor to take pressure off guys and get them easier shots.

Sixers prefer to not trade either Joel Embiid or Ben SImmons

NBA executives discuss potential Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid trades

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.”

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.”

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

Sources I have spoken to around the league painted this picture (and Windhorst mentions it): It’s too hard to get two elite players, trading one (and certainly not getting full value back) is the absolute last resort. The more likely pattern is Brett Brown gets fired after the season and another coach is brought in. However, if in a year or two that coach cannot get Embiid and Simmons to blend at a championship level, then the Sixers will start to explore trades. (Both players are under contract for three seasons after this one, there is no pressure to trade or lose them on the Sixers.)

After Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid posted a photo on Instagram captioned with the classic Batman line, “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain,” Tuesday night — amid rumblings of discord in the team’s ranks — the Heat star saw an opportunity. “I know a place where villains are welcome,” Butler commented, along with a “shrug” emoji, seemingly a reference to the Heat. To which Embiid replied “Damn right my brother.”
1 year ago via ESPN

“But anyways, one of the conversations people are starting to have in the league is ‘will they move Embiid? What’s the price? Where would he go?’ I’m not going to get into that, but my point is people are talking about that. I don’t think they would do that without making an adjustment to the head coach. It’s such a radical thing, but the fact that we’re in mid-February and the people who work in the league, who have to prepare in advance, are mulling over Joel Embiid potentially coming to market, whether that’s true or not… I mean, Josh Harris can come on this podcast and deny it if he wants, but the fact people are talking about it, is not good. It’s a symptom of where they are.”
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Aaron Rodgers might be pulling the equivalent of that in the NFL — or at least something close to it. He’s clearly unhappy in his situation with the Packers. So he’s trying to force his way out. Anthony Davis said he totally understands where he’s coming from. He was playing Call of Duty live on a stream and was asked about the situation by his game chat.