KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Elton Brand attempted Tuesday to squash all speculation about the 76ers’ parting ways with Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid.
“I’m not looking to trade Ben or Joel,” the Sixers general manager said during a Zoom call. “I’m looking to complement them better. They’re 24 [Simmons] and 26 [Embiid] years old, respectively. You try to make that fit as long as you can.”
Some critics believe the Sixers’ best way to move forward would involve trading one of their two All-Stars. The outside perception is that the pairing of Simmons and Embiid is toxic. Nothing about the two fits. Not their games, not their personalities, nothing. It’s the NBA’s version of oil and water.
This discussion is not new. Back in February, during All-Star weekend, critics said the two space-eaters couldn’t coexist on a team with championship aspirations.
“I think it’s BS,” Embiid said back then.
But some of the discussion now revolves around the Sixers’ salary cap. The Sixers have more than $400 million tied up in Embiid, Simmons, Al Horford, and Tobias Harris over the next several seasons, and the team doesn’t figure to be an Eastern Conference contender. So some are questioning if the Sixers should try to trade Embiid or Simmons.
The obvious choice would be to try to deal Horford. But the Sixers might have a hard time moving the remaining three years of the $97 million guaranteed deal he signed last summer. They might also have a tough time moving Harris, who signed a five-year, $180 million contract last summer.
Brand wouldn’t disclose if Horford, Harris and standout guards Josh Richardson and Shake Milton are in play for offseason trades.
“Right now, I’m assessing the entire roster,” he said. “When you fail like we failed, losing in the first round, getting swept being without Ben Simmons [left knee surgery], there’s going to be tough decisions that have to be made.”