The ending to the Philadelphia 76ers 2020-21 season can’t be seen as anything less than disastrous. Boasting the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, Philadelphia choked away Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at home against the upstart Atlanta Hawks.
Philadelphia now enters an offseason that will be defined by rumors of a potential Ben Simmons trade and the need of front office head Daryl Morey to build a better supporting cast behind Embiid. Here, we check in on the biggest Philadelphia 76ers rumors on one page. Bookmark for continual updates as the underperforming organization enters a franchise-defining offseason.
Philadelphia 76ers trade rumors: Update on Ben Simmons situation
As has been noted since Philadelphia fell in the conference semifinals to the Atlanta Hawks, Simmons could very well be on the block. With that said, there’s now an open question about his trade value after previous reports indicated that it was at an all-time low.
Most recently, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic noted that there’s “no chance” Philadelphia would accept a trade package from the Cleveland Cavaliers surrounding Collin Sexton and Kevin Love. If that is indeed the case, complications could arise ahead of the start of the 2021 NBA Draft in late July.
Thus far this offseason, Simmons has primarily been linked to the Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors out west. In order for the Philadelphia 76ers to pull off a trade of this ilk, front office head Daryl Morey would have to come to the conclusion that C.J. McCollum or Andrew Wiggins are better running partners for Joel Embiid than Mr. Simmons. I am not too sure that’s a reasonable conclusion to come to.
Philadelphia 76ers rumors: Team to make a run at Damian Lillard?
With Ben Simmons the talk of Philadelphia and the NBA watercooler right now, there’s another star who could be on the move. Damian Lillard is said to be upset about the direction of the organization and the process that led to Chauncey Billups replacing Terry Stotts as head coach.
If Lillard were to request a trade, he’d be the top commodity on the market this summer. The 30-year-old six-time All-Star is averaging 27.7 points and 7.2 assists on 38% shooting from distance over the past four seasons. He’d be an absolutely perfect fit with Joel Embiid in Philadelphia. A championship-caliber tandem if you will.
Philly has also been linked to Lillard since rumors of his discontent in the Pacific Northwest became public record. Below, we look at one potential scenario to bring the future Hall of Famer to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Early in the 2020-21 NBA season, rumors indicated that Morey had offered Simmons up in a package for then-Houston Rockets star James Harden. While he won’t come close to netting anything like that in return, it’s clear Morey will have to kick the tires on this possibility again.
Philadelphia 76ers free agent rumors: Replenishing their depth
Danny Green and Dwight Howard are veterans that the 76ers would like to retain in an ideal world. Both are pending free agents and should have rather robust markets. With Philadelphia slated to be well over the salary cap, it’s not yet known whether it’s feasible to re-sign both.
What we do know is that Morey and Co. will have to get to work to build some more depth. They will have the near $6 million taxpayer exception to use, which can be split between multiple players.
Shake Milton, Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle are all youngsters who might find into the team’s long-term plans in the backcourt. That leaves the frontcourt as a major target area for Philadelphia.
Using this as a premise, bringing back someone like Andre Iguodala could make a lot of sense for Philadelphia. If Simmons is indeed traded, it would give the 76ers another big body who can handle the rock. Depending on the status of Dwight Howard, free-agent centers Daniel Theis and Hassan Whiteside could also work.
Philadelphia 76ers trade targets
Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, New Orleans Pelicans
Perhaps, the 76ers kick the tires on a blockbuster trade that would net them these two starter-caliber players. A pending restricted free agent, Ball offers much more than Simmons from a shooting perspective as a primary ball-handler. Ingram is a young All-Star wing who still has not hit his ceiling.
A move of this ilk would likely require enticing New Orleans with Harris as well as multiple first-round selections, some pick swaps and at least one of those young guards we mentioned above.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
This might be a pie-in-the-sky thought. But it’s something we would not put past Morey. We have absolutely no idea what the future might hold for Dame in Portland after a fourth playoff exit in five years and following the firing of head coach Terry Stotts.
What we do know is that pretty much every team in the NBA will come calling should Portland put the star guard on the block. Meanwhile, Philadelphia has the assets to make this work. Something akin to Simmons, Maxey, two first-round picks and two pick swaps could be enough to move the needle. Imagine Lillard and Embiid teaming up in Philadelphia. That would be so much fun.
Either way we spin it, the Philadelphia 76ers are headed for a franchise-altering offseason. It’s going to be intriguing to see how Morey and Co. navigate through it. Don’t expect this same core group to return in 2021-22. That would be the definition of insanity.