Contrary to popular belief, the Philadelphia 76ers have no plans to split up Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid this offseason. Instead, the primary focus is going to be on building around them, according to Sixers General Manager, Elton Brand.
"I'm looking to complement them better," Brand said this week. "They're 24 and 26 years old, respectively. You try to make that fit, as long as you can. They want to be here. They want to be with our organization. And I see them here for a long, long time."
Last offseason, the Sixers' front office collaboratively put together an awkward fitting lineup, which caused a disgruntled Embiid pretty much throughout the entire 2019-2020 NBA season. As the 2020 offseason approaches and more voices within the front office get silenced, Brand wants to make sure he caters to the two young stars this time around. And in doing so, Brand wants input from them as the 76ers look to tweak the roster and find a new head coach to run the team.
"I'm going to talk to Jo and Ben about the game and how they see it," Brand explained. "[I'll see] what's going to help them and how to complement [them] and what will complement them. I'm not going to put the pressure of 'You wanted this new coach, or you wanted that new player' on them, but just the overall philosophy of basketball. Where they feel we were strong and ways to get better. Just have some clear, candid conversation with them as I feel I should."
After a disappointing season, Brand needs to make sure the Sixers are still in a position to contend for a championship in 2020-2021. As long as they still possess the two young stars, Philly is viewed as a threat to the East.
But if Brand and the front office fail to get Embiid and Simmons the help they need from personnel and a coaching standpoint, then the Sixers' championship window could close sooner than expected. So in order to prevent that from happening, he will collaborate with his stars to get the team back on the right track.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_