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Trade rumors: could the Sixers look to move Al Horford for shooting help this summer?

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NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The off season was a big disappointment for the Philadelphia 76ers. Whereas last season, they were able to come within one possession of knocking off the eventual champs, the Raptors, the team inexplicably decided to restocked the cupboard with new players and it just hasn’t worked out so far. Tack on some killer injuries to Ben Simmons (who will be re-evaluated in a week or two) and Joel Embiid (who we can probably expect back sooner than Ben) and a situation that was difficult has gotten that much more challenging. Yeesh. And now this.

In an opinion column, Jeff Zillgitt of the USA Today had the following to say:

“Short of a deep and surprising run in the playoffs, where do the Sixers go from here? Though the Sixers did not try to move Horford at the trade deadline, that might be a possibility in the off-season – if they can send that contract to another team and get shooting in return - a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about Philadelphia’s plans.”

It may not surprise anyone that the Sixers would at least explore trading Al Horford next summer. The 33 year old vet has simply not fit. It was always an ill-conceived idea to pair him alongside Joel Embiid since they play the same position, at least for such an exorbitant ($97M) price. They could have offered that money to Jimmy Butler who is thriving in Miami, and as of today would welcome his former ailing team to Miami for a round one playoff match. Alternatively, they could have fleshed out the team’s shooting concerns instead, giving much needed breathing room to their two stars, rather than an overqualified backup in Horford.

But distressingly, even if shopping Horford in a few months makes perfect sense, if the report is indeed true, it leaves open the possibility that someone within the Sixers front office is allowing these stories to leak. And that serves no value but to distract Horford at a time he’s already struggling mightily, and also being relied upon more than ever, with the team’s All-Stars nursing injuries. Stories like this don’t exactly scream “we have faith in you Al, now help save our season!”

Horford may not have a positive trade value this summer. Meaning, if no team wanted him at his near-max salary, it might cost the Sixers future assets to entice anyone to make a swap. That would obviously further limit their future flexibility and waste even more assets from the treasure chest they once possessed due to the wheelings and dealings of former President of B-Ball Ops Sam Hinkie.

Long gone are the days when Sixers fans could sit back and say “ welp, even though things aren’t perfect, I’m hopeful about the future because I trust this front office’s process.”