After the Sixers dropped Friday evening’s game against the Houston Rockets for their fourth straight loss, the reports coming out of the team’s locker room were concerning. Joel Embiid spoke candidly about his unhappiness with the current situation, as he has on other occasions this season.
#Sixers center @JoelEmbiid postgame. He said the losing is taking a toll on him. pic.twitter.com/t92K6nRrEG— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) January 4, 2020
Embiid’s comments drew a lot of attention and rightfully so. But sneaking through the cracks, at least for me, was Tim MacMahon’s report for ESPN on the Sixers’ trade interest. In his postgame article, MacMahon included the following information:
Sources say the Sixers will search the trade market for perimeter shooting threats with playmaking ability, a need that was apparent as Philadelphia went 6-of-27 from 3-point range Friday night.
Okay, maybe this report wasn’t buried by Embiid’s comments. Maybe this just comes as a surprise to absolutely no one. Of course the Sixers will search the trade market for perimeter shooting threats with playmaking ability — they’re currently starting four bigs. Still, it’s interesting that McMahon referenced a source. While anyone could have guessed at the sort of player the Sixers will target, I think it’s safe to assume MacMahon’s going off of good intel. At least Sixers fans can have some peace of mind knowing that the front office acknowledges the team’s weaknesses, right?
So, who might be a target for the Sixers? It’s tough to say, trade rumors have been pretty quiet. Andre Drummond is the latest ... “star” ... who has been rumored as available. He is, of course, a center, exlucing him from MacMahon’s criteria of a perimeter threat but alinging with the Sixers’ MO of accumulating all of the league’s centers. Addressing MacMahon’s criteria specifically, Chris Paul is a sexy name I’ve seen tossed around these parts. I can’t realistically see it, but it’s a fun thought to entertain.
Paul would unquestionably address many of the Sixers’ problems. However, his presence would force a conversation between Brett Brown and Ben Simmons that apparently they haven’t been willing to have. If Ben were open to it, hell, the Sixers already went all in for this year. How bad could the net return be on the back end of Paul’s contract if you’re just swapping it for Horford’s? Horford would in all likelihood be included in such a swap (and straight up, the money’s not quite there to pull it off, so add Zhaire or Mike Scott too). But you have to question why Oklahoma City would do such a trade. They’re in playoff position sitting 7th in the West and Paul is playing great basketball and he’s healthy.
Regardless, it sounds like the Sixers are well aware they need to make some changes. As the standings become more and more clear as the trade deadline approaches and teams decide to buy or sell, expect the Sixers to be picking up the phones for any perimeter-scoring guard that may be available.