Philadelphia 76ers unlikely to trade Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons?

By Matt Johnson
Jan 30, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) and guard Ben Simmons (25) during a free throw against the Atlanta Hawks in the second quarter at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were drafted and developed with the hopes of taking this team to a title. Coming off another disappointing season, significant changes are looming this offseason.

After getting swept out of the first round by the Boston Celtics, it’s only a matter of time before the 76ers fire head coach Brett Brown. Once they move on from the coach who oversaw the rebuild, even bigger decisions must be made regarding the future for Simmons and Embiid.

Will the 76ers trade Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid?

Just a year after the 76ers signed Simmons to a massive contract extension, the star guard missed the playoff series against Boston after suffering a knee injury. Meanwhile, Embiid couldn’t carry this team to a single playoff victory in the second year of his $147 million extension.

The 76ers knew before the 2019-’20 season that the Simmons-Embiid pairing wouldn’t work without great shooters around them. Amid growing chemistry issues in the locker room and renewed speculation regarding Simmons’ future in Philadelphia, trade rumors will be rampant this offseason.

However, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the expectation around the league is that the 76ers are committed to both Embiid and Simmons. Despite clashes in style between the two stars, general manager Elton Brand is reportedly committed to keeping the All-Star talent with the organization.

If the 76ers are committed to both stars for another season, they must find a coach who understands three shooters need to be around them. Unfortunately, Brand’s decision to sign Al Horford to a $109 million contract backfired and set the team back significantly.

Given the NBA’s 2021 salary cap could drop significantly due to lost ticket revenue and the fallout from the China situation, the 76ers are in trouble. Between Embiid ($29.5 million), Simmons ($29.25 million), Tobias Harris ($33.5 million and Horford ($27.5 million), they owe $120 million to four players next season.

Even if they hire the right head coach, filling out this roster and finding the right complementary pieces to make this a title contender will be extraordinarily difficult.