The Sixers are basically a horror movie about a family that wins the lottery after years of suffering, only to use their winnings to move into a very nice house that’s just haunted enough to drive them crazy. I mean, look at poor Brett Brown! Philly’s coach has dealt with roster upheaval after roster upheaval, and despite his very public pleas, he still can’t get Ben Simmons to shoot even one three-pointer a night. Brown should probably be able to drink on the sidelines.
The Sixers are obviously still very good. And The Process worked in the sense that it got the team two superstars...it just happened to get them two guys who are an awkward fit, and Philly’s current iteration is probably the worst its been the last three years. Could the Sixers win a title as presently constructed? With the deadline less than a month away, let’s upheave Philly’s roster one more time and look at a few trades that would maybe help this team (but almost definitely won’t happen.)
The Al Horford Trade
Sixers Get: Robert Covington, Gorgui Dieng, 2020 First Round Pick
Timberwolves Get: Al Horford
Why This Works: Covington goes back to the Sixers and gives them some more outside shooting while maintaining their defensive prowess. His return would also be something of a morale boost considering he’s a Process favorite, and his injection into the starting lineup would make Philly look more similar to the 2018 version, which was very good! In this universe, Josh Richardson and Tobias Harris have taken the place of J.J. Redick and Dario Saric, and the Sixers also get a backup big in Dieng who can help them stay big when they want to. (Though Brown will probably want to surround Simmons with shooters in bench lineups.)
Should the Wolves really part with a first-round pick for Horford? They’ll have trouble ever singing someone that good, and Al is locked up under contract for three seasons after this one. Horford should actually pair well with Towns, who isn’t as post-up heavy as Embiid and a better shooter from outside. Andrew Wiggins isn’t a knockdown guy from the perimeter but at least he’s willing, so Minny should have better spacing with Horford than the Sixers currently do, while also enjoying the benefits of his defensive acumen. The Wolves may want to hold out for D’Angelo Russell, but what if the Warriors intend to aim much higher with him?
The Ben Simmons Trade
Sixers Get: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Terrance Ferguson, Darius Bazley, 2021 First Round Pick Swap, 2023 First-Round Pick Swap, Maybe One More First Round Pick if the Internet Hates This
Thunder Get: Ben Simmons
Why This Works: Let’s start here: While trading Ben Simmons is en vogue, it’s practically impossible to do this season. He’s making only $8.1 million, which makes his salary basically useless in any serious trade. If Philly wants to move on from Simmons, it’s going to have to wait for his extension to kick in, when his salary can be used for either multiple pieces or another max guy. Finding the right value for Simmons is also absurd. He’s a superstar-level talent, but his one huge flaw is magnified on the Sixers, and that hurts Philly on the trade market.
Why would the Sixers do this OKC deal? Shai has star potential, he can slide in at point guard, and he keeps the starting five ridiculously lengthy. Ferguson and Bazley add depth. And the Thunder have a trove of first-round picks to part with for good measure. For Sam Presti, even with all that capital OKC could have a tough time ever selecting someone as talented as Simmons, and the fact that he’s signed long-term means they can avoid a rebuild and instead try to surround a star with talent.
Bad Embiid Trade No. 1
Sixers Get: C.J. McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Anfernee Simons, Two First Round Picks
Blazers Get: Joel Embiid, Josh Richardson
Why This Works: It doesn’t! There are no good trades for Embiid. The only way he gets moved is if he demands out in the wake of some kind of huge chemistry blow up. He’s too good. It’s impossible to find both proper value and a player that actually helps the Sixers. This trade is not complete garbage because Philly gets a star shooter and other useful players who could also fetch a good return in a separate trade in the future.
Bad Embiid Trade No. 2
Sixers Get: Kristaps Porzingis
Mavericks Get: Joel Embiid
Why This Works: Unicorn for unicorn. The Sixers no longer have anyone parked in the paint. Rick Carlisle finally gets somebody he can throw the ball to in the post.
One More Horford Trade
Sixers Get: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Trevor Ariza, Caleb Swanigan
Kings Get: Al Horford
Why This Works: The Sixers would be making a play for pure shooting in Bogdanovic and Ariza. The former is young and has potential, the latter could have some impact in small spurts in a playoff series. Do I think Sacramento would go for it? The Kings probably want someone younger and more flexibility in a potential Bogdanovic trade. But Sacramento reportedly targeted Horford in the summer, and its backcourt is already getting a little expensive.