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3 reasons why the Philadelphia 76ers must avoid a Kevin Durant trade

Kevin Durant officially requested a trade out of the Brooklyn on June 30 due to issues Durant had with people in the organization. Since then, it has been mock trades galore for teams like the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers. These are some of the teams that have emerged in talks of trade for the 12 time All-Star. 

Initially, the Phoenix Suns were early on front runners for Durant. However, this would quickly change as the asking price from the Nets was too high. The Celtics would be the next team to surface in these trade talks. Those talks would also die out after the Nets countered with their offer, which again was too high of an asking price. 

The Sixers were talked about early on, but those rumors would be put to rest quickly. That was until a more recent report stating that Durant listed the Celtics and the Sixers as preferred trade destinations. With the Suns, Celtics and Heat all likely out of the running for Durant, this leaves the Sixers as the clear stand out. That being said, here are three reasons why the Sixers should not trade for Kevin Durant. 

Related: Kevin Durant and the NBA’s top-50 players of 2022

Kevin Durant’s availability 

kevin durant, brooklyn nets
SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

Over the last two seasons, Durant has played just 90 out of 164 possible games. He has a long history of injuries as most NBA fans know. Last season, he suffered an MCL sprain that kept him out for a good chunk of time. In that period of time, the Nets suffered greatly as they continued to fall in the standings. Durant’s most-recent injury that was more serious was the achillies tear that kept him out for the entire 2019-’20 season. He suffered this injury in game five of the 2019 NBA Finals

While Durant being injured for a chunk of time doesn’t end your season indefinitely, it very well could when paired with the other two stars currently in Philly. Joel Embiid also has a history of injury, playing in just 328 games since being drafted in 2014. A couple of these injuries have come in the playoffs, hurting the Sixers chances at a championship. James Harden has also had continuous issues with his hamstring since suffering a hamstring injury in the 2021 playoffs. 

If the Sixers traded for Durant, their starting roster would likely consist of James Harden, De’Anthony Melton, Kevin Durant, P.J. Tucker, and Joel Embiid. While this is undoubtedly a championship-contending starting five, the Sixers would lack depth coming off the bench. If any of the Sixers big three were to get injured, they’d be left with a huge gap in their lineup.

Now, if more than one of these players gets injured, the Sixers could kiss their playoff hopes goodbye. This would be a huge risk for the Sixers to take, sending just about all of their depth to Brooklyn without certainty that this will amount to anything. This carries over into the next reason why they should avoid trading for Durant. 

Related: Kevin Durant and the NBA’s highest-paid players

The Philadelphia 76ers are already contenders 

NBA: Playoffs-Philadelphia 76ers at Toronto Raptors
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The closest thing that the Sixers have had to a complete team was their 2018-’19 roster. Ben Simmons, J.J. Reddick, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and Embiid led to an all-around great team. Unfortunately, this team wouldn’t amount to anything as they would lose to the Raptors in round two of the playoffs. With all of this being said, the current state of the Sixers roster could be even better than that team was. 

Harden has had more time to recover from his hamstring injury, as well as work more with the Sixers. Tyrese Maxey will be looking to take another leap, potentially being an All-Star in just his third NBA season. The Sixers went out and signed their “dawg” in Tucker, adding more fight and grit to this team. Harris adapted to his role very well since the Harden signing, providing a balance for Embiid and Harden. Lastly, Embiid is an MVP caliber player, and the heart of this team. This starting five will mesh very well together, making this a contending starting roster. 

To focus in on the bench, the Sixers have added much-needed depth with only a couple moves. Off the bench they’ll have Melton, Matisse Thybulle, Georges Niang, Shake Milton, Danuel House Jr., Furkan Korkmaz, and Paul Reed. This bench rotation has great defense in Melton and Thybulle as well as great offense in Niang and Shake Milton. This roster is complete from top to bottom, and a trade for another superstar is unnecessary. 

Related: Evaluating the likelihood of a Kevin Durant trade to the Boston Celtics

Tyrese Maxey is the future, not Kevin Durant

tyrese maxey, kevin durant
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The reason that trading for another “star” is unnecessary is because the Sixers already have one. In just his second season in the NBA, Maxey led his team in scoring in the playoffs, averaging nearly 21 PPG. He also finished third in the league in 3-PT% after his deep ball shooting was named his “weakness”.

The jump that Maxey made in his second season was incredible. He showed some signs of elite play in his rookie year, but nobody expected him to improve as much as he did. In 14 games without Embiid last season, Maxey averaged 23.7 PPG, 5.0 APG, and 3.4 RPG on 51/38/92 shooting splits. These numbers would easily get Maxey into the All-Star game as they gave him an opportunity to show what he can do as the first option. Or in some cases, the second option.

As previously mentioned, Maxey could be an All-Star as soon as this season. At just 22 years old, this makes his ceiling very high. Not to mention that he still has over a decade left to play in the league. Trading for Kevin Durant shortens the Sixers’ championship window to just a few years. Maxey seems extremely committed to the city of Philadelphia as he’s already given back to the community in multiple ways. These include donating to a local foundation supporting women of color in sports, hosting a camp for the youth, and participating in a local pro-am game.

Maxey is not only the future of the franchise as Embiid would say, but the future of the city. That is too important to lose for the organization, and for the fans.