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Far-Fetched Friday: The Philadelphia 76ers will Trade a Franchise Centerpiece This Offseason
By: Ryan Stein
The Philadelphia 76ers haven't exactly been the most stable team in recent years. Despite sporting some of the most impressive rosters in the league the past couple of seasons, the team has been unable to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Doubts over head coach Brett Brown's long-term fit with the team have been a thing for years, and not much has been done to quell those doubts. Furthermore, there have been questions about whether or not the Sixers' two franchise centerpieces, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, have compatible skill sets to lead the team to an NBA championship.
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With that said, the 76ers will end up trading one of either Embiid or Simmons this offseason, following a predicted first round playoff exit at the hands of the Miami Heat.
There's one thing the 76ers have proven to do better than any other team this season: play at home. Unfortunately, with the nature of the NBA restart causing teams to play on neutral terms, the 76ers are one of the teams most affected. Without the benefit of a home crowd, the Sixers just won't have enough to take out the Heat in the first round. Miami, led by the headstrong Jimmy Butler, will be much better equipped to play at a neutral site than Philly is, and despite having more talent, I have a hard time imagining the 76ers will have enough fortitude to take out the Heat.
Following yet another disappointing playoff run, the 76ers' front office will be feeling the pressure to make big changes. Of the Sixers' two cornerstones, Ben Simmons is the more likely to be traded. For one, Simmons has a unique combination of ball handling skills and size that will fit in well with any team that has a good amount of shooters. Embiid is a bit of a tougher fit for teams due to the sheer amount of shots he will require to be effective on offense.
While Embiid is the better player, Simmons will be an easier player for which the 76ers can get adequate value back. Simmons also has more years remaining under team control, making him more valuable from that standpoint for any potential suitors. Regardless, one of those two players will end up in a different uniform when the 2020-2021 season starts, and the balance of power in the NBA will be changed because of it.
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