If the Sixers put star center Joel Embiid on the trade market, the San Antonio Spurs could change the trajectory of their organization with a trade.
Friction and the city of Philadelphia are no strangers to each other. Philadelphians wear their hearts on their sleeves and carry their outspoken pride triumphantly. They love their sports, and their sports teams love them—but the love doesn’t last without results and the San Antonio Spurs could take advantage of that nature in the offseason.
One of the faces of his generation in this league, star center Joel Embiid thrives under the spotlight. He loves the attention that comes with being an NBA superstar, and the masses of the basketball world love him too. However, the city that he’s called home since getting drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2014 is getting a bit tired of his antics because the team isn’t performing up to expectations.
Trading for star wing Jimmy Butler didn’t work out for the Sixers, who pivoted toward the tandem of Josh Richardson and Al Horford in the offseason in a blatant effort to counter league MVP Giannis Antetekoumpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Adding some floor spacing, length and high-IQ defense put them in a better position to go head-to-head with the league’s best team, and arguably the game’s best player.
And yet another pivot from general manager Elton Brand sees the Sixers struggling with a 9-19 record on the road and the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. Much of the narrative surrounding Philly has been that Embiid and his co-star, two-way phenom Ben Simmons, cannot co-exist because of the contradictory natures of their respective playstyles.
This came to a head a few days ago when the rowdy Sixers fans got to Embiid. Some expletives were hurled toward the rampant Wells Fargo Center crowd, and the league began truly pondering whether ‘The Process’ is coming to a close.
If the Sixers are really going to move on from Embiid, which many in the NBA community are beginning to ponder, then it’s time for the San Antonio Spurs to step in and make a play at someone who could lead their franchise back into legitimate playoff contention. They have the trade assets to facilitate a deal, the proper surrounding cast to help Embiid thrive and the winning history that could help him fulfill his magnificent potential.
Opportunities like this don’t come around often, as the Spurs saw from the losing side of the Kawhi Leonard trade last year. It’s not certain that this even comes to fruition in Philly, but if it does, San Antonio may have the chance to redeem itself after all.