Should 76ers trade Joel Embiid as Ben Simmons? NBA execs weigh in

Philadelphia is anything but the city of brotherly love right now. The management of Sixers is under fire for the inflated Al Horford en Tobias Harris contracts, which performed remarkably well in the playoffs. Coach Brett Brown sits on the hot seat and is expected to be fired soon.

After losing in back-to-back Eastern Conference Semifinals, Philadelphia took a step back, and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs Ben Simmons.

Now the 76ers are heading into the offseason with expected major changes, starting with Brown. Unlike at the end of last season, Joel Embiid did not come to Brown’s defense when his job security was in question, probably knowing that his coach’s fate was sealed.

“I’m not the GM,” Embiid said after Game 4. “I do not make the decisions. All I know is that we have a great organization, a lot of great people. ”

Embiid also said Brown would be a “friend, no matter what.”

Horford, who signed a four-year, $ 109 million contract, shot a whopping 40 percent from the field and averaged just 5.3 points in 30.7 minutes through the first three games of the series against Boston. Harris, who signed a five-year, $ 180 million deal, shot a troubled 38.3 percent from the field and 13.3 percent from the center in the series.

In terms of roster, the most valuable trades are Philadelphia Embiid and Simmons, whose vital long-term cooperation is in demand.

HoopsHype spoke with five executives, three coaches, three scouts, and two general managers on condition of anonymity to get their duties transferred to Embiid or Simmons or to retain the two All-Stars and structure deoster elsewhere.

Five of the talent evaluators said to hold both stars, another five said to trade Embiid, and the remaining three voted to trade Simmons.

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers


Embiid did his best to carry the 76ers without his All-Star team-mate averaging 30 points, 12.3 handballs, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per game against the Celtics.

In a league where playing small ball has become more of a trend, Embiid remains one of the most dominant big men of the league with his ability to score from anywhere on the court and edge protection around the paint to deliver.

The talent appraisers who voted to trade Embiid mentioned in particular concerns about injuries and the belief that cap room at various positions made more sense, while trying to find a defensive big man who could be effective in pick-and-roll. action. If the big man can spread the floor, it’s a bonus.

“I would trade Embiid,” one Eastern Conference general manager told HoopsHype. ‘He is elderly and worried about injuries. I think it’s easier to fill in Simmons. Some teams still value a player like him. You should try to get a young player with All-Star potential and a starter level player. ”

Embiid and Horford never fit together from a frontcourt standpoint. The 34-year-old Horford and Embiid are not fast enough to keep big men around the arc or switch on guards in pick-and-roll sets. Offensively, both can stretch the floor adequately, but are not elite shooters. Embiid has a nice touch from the mid-range and likes to keep his defender in the post. Horford has become more of a pick-and-pop player in the final stages of his career. Having Embiid and Horford in the same frontcourt also limits the effectiveness of Harris, whose preferred position is the four where he can stretch the defense.

‘I think you trade Embiid and make Simmons into one Giannis (Antetokounmpo) of Pascal (Siakam), “Told one rival Eastern Conference coach HoopsHype. ‘Add shooting, find a cheap center, but end the game with Horford at five and Tobias at four. You can’t get Tobias or Al out though. The patient fit does not work , and it did not work from the beginning of the season. “

With Brown expected to be sacked as well, the next coach’s style of play will also factor into management consideration.

“If I were a new coach, I would first want to coach them together for a year before I trade too, but if I had to choose, I would trade Embiid,” one Western Conference coach told HoopsHype. ‘I think Simmons is more versatile. I had just surrounded him with shooters and opened the floor up like Milwaukee for Giannis. There could be more creativity with Simmons on the offensive end. I would try to send Embiid to Miami and get some of her young, hungry shooters and guards Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, ensfh. Ideally I would get Bam, but I doubt Miami would trade him. I’m a big believer in Simmons’ motor and defensive versatility. He reminds me a lot of a boy Jason Kidd. He has unusual open speed from the court and is an elite passer, but is an average ball dealer in tight spaces and a poor shooter. He has elite defensive hands with incredible defensive instincts and power. ”

Kidd, who reportedly had a strong interview with the New York Knicks in front of Tom Thibodeau was hired, could be the type of coach that unlocks Simmons’ potential as a point forward. Must see the 76ers from the inside out, Ime Udoka would be the leading candidate.

Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers


You know what you get from Simmons on a nightly basis as a 16-8-8 man. Similar to another versatile lefty, Lamar Odom, Simmons makes you want more, especially if he’s going to make some comparisons Magic Johnson as its ceiling.

“Simmons has been in the league long enough now that you should see improvement on that jump shot,” another Eastern Conference director told HoopsHype. ‘He has not put in enough work. If you move Ben, you should get a dynamic point guard back. I never thought you could win with him as a point guard, because he can not shoot from three and the foul line, and that window gets smaller and becomes a half-court game in the playoffs. For people to compare him to Magic Johnson is blasphemous. ”

While players like Kidd and Johnson got triple-doubles without a consistent jump, Simmons has shown a very limited willingness to shoot outside the arc, as evidenced by his 24 career attempts in three seasons. According to the Basketball Reference, Simmons scored only 10.5 percent of his overall field goals from 10-16 feet and two percent from 16 feet to the arc area.

‘Embiid has great talent,’ one longtime executive Western Conference told HoopsHype. ‘As healthy, I would be reluctant to act on him. As talented as Simmons is, I’m skeptical that his shooting will ever improve him. Horford is the ultimate shot five. I think Harris’ best position is the four. ”

Another executor reflected the shooting misery of Simmons as a big red flag, and the executive deviated from the idea that small ball and a heap of shooters round Simmons could win at a high level.

“Sure, I would trade Ben Simmons because Embiid is a much better player, but you have to consider the injury factor for Embiid,” one longtime executive Eastern Conference told HoopsHype. ‘He’s been lucky enough to stay healthy, but how long can that last? Ben also had knee and back injuries. It’s hard to build a team around Simmons because of his shortcomings. If you have a great guy who is dominant, all the best teams are great. Toronto, Milwaukee, The Lakers. If you have a player as good as Embiid, it’s not a question. I think Simmons’s too high. ”

Last season against Toronto in the playoffs, Simmons averaged a pedestrian 11.6 points while shooting 57.5 percent from the foul line, with 4.9 assists in 36.3 minutes of action since Philadelphia lost to Toronto on Kawhi Leonard’s shot on the buzzer in Game 7.


The consensus between those who voted to keep the two All-Stars was at first it is difficult to get equal value for two stars at young ages, even if the fit is not ideal. There is a belief that the two can work together effectively when the right supportive cast is around them.

Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce, who coached both players as assistant coach on the Philadelphia staff during the 2017-18 season, was fiercely opposed to relocating both players.

I think it’s a slander, ”Pierce told HoopsHype during a recent podcast appearance. ‘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 not exist together? I think they both have an effect on winning. I’m not getting rid of one to look for another, because you might not find another. It is hard to find top-15 talent that has an impact on winning and is competitive. Both of those guys, I think, have shown that. They were a court away from last year going to the Conference Finals. Chemistry is real. You need to have team chemistry. You have to develop it. You have to keep working on it. Influencing winning and competing is also real. I think both guys have that. I’m more concerned with how to make it work, let’s not let go and try another route. I do not agree with that approach for every team. ”

Embiid is under contract for the next three seasons for a combined $ 94.7 million, and Simmons begins his five-year, $ 170 million expansion next season, per our 76ers salary page.

“I would love them both,” one executive Western Conference told HoopsHype. ‘You will not get equal value in a trade. The problem 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 at both ends of the floor. The only reason I would trade him is if I’m afraid of his medical, because they need to know better than any other team. ”

Philadelphia had a potential offense when shooters seemed JJ Redick, Ersan Ilyasova, en Marco Belinelli spread the floor for Embiid to operate more predominantly in the mail and open driveway for Simmons to penetrate.

“I would not trade either,” one Eastern Conference scout told HoopsHype. “Especially in this market climate. I would have surrounded them with a mix of elite shooters and defenders (hopefully both) and give it a few more years. It’s hard to replace those kinds of talents. ”

Check out our HoopsHype rankings by looking for potential free agent shooters that hit this market all season long click here.