With the Philadelphia 76ers failing to make it past the second round again, many will keep their eyes peeled on what their next move is. Since they have failed to make the Eastern Conference Finals with Joel Embiid, they must decide whether to acquire more talent to try again or sell off what they have to start a rebuild.
Bill Simmons brought up two opposite scenarios the Sixers could approach on “The Bill Simmons Podcast” with Ryen Russilo. The first one he brought up involved acquiring another superstar.
“My fear for Philly is the Hail Mary trade or move is like Damian Lillard,” Simmons said. “It’s (Tyrese) Maxey and it’s the (Tobias) Harris expiring, and it’s a million picks, and it’s whatever else assets you can throw into that, and then you try to figure out (if) you can sign-and-trade Harden to Houston. Is there some sort of mechanics where you end up with Dame and Embiid, either Harden stays, or you turn him into whatever, and you keep your fingers crossed that this will work because I feel like we could be headed down that road.”
The other is one in which the Sixers would send Embiid to their Atlantic Division rival, the New York Knicks.
“The Knicks are just waiting for Embiid to say it’s time for me to go,” Simmons said. “They have their relationships. They have Leon (Rose) and Wes, who were his guys. They’ve been waiting for this moment, right now. And it’s here.”
James Harden to Rockets Called ‘Very Real Possibility’
James Harden is expected to hit free agency when he declines his player option. If and when that happens, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Houston Rockets will be very much in play for Harden’s services this summer.
“It was a real possibility back on Christmas, and it remains so now that the Sixers are in the offseason that we’re started to head toward July free agency. Houston’s a very real possibility for Philadelphia’s James Harden in free agency. They’ve got upwards of $60 million in cap space. They want to be much better next season,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s Get Up on May 15.
Because the Rockets were among the worst teams record-wise in the league, they have a chance of winning the lottery, which might make a roster construction of Harden and a high lottery pick strange. However, according to Wojnarowski, Houston will still pursue Harden regardless of what pick they have.
“There’s a comfort level in Houston for James Harden. He’s got family there. He’s very comfortable in that environment, and this is an organization where he knows ownership. He knows the front office, and I think regardless for the Rockets of whether or not they won the draft lottery, if they win the lottery tomorrow night here in Chicago, and they’re the ones who can draft Victor Wembayana, my sense is that would not necessarily change the Rockets’ intentions to pursue James Harden.”
James Harden’s Decision May Come Down to Doc Rivers
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that Harden not only did not support Doc Rivers following their playoff loss but that Harden does not want to play for Rivers again, which could impact their futures.
“James Harden was not all that supportive of Doc Rivers in his press conference yesterday,” Shelburne said. “Behind the scenes, from what I’m told, that one person said it would be hard for me to see James wanting to come back and play for Doc again. This is going to be a situation where those two decisions are linked.”
Shelburne elaborated on how Harden’s decision and the Sixers’ decision with Rivers would be connected to one another.
“As we go forward into this offseason and you have another second-round exit, you have to decide if you want to lock in your future around those two guys, and then if you’re doing that, what does that mean for Doc Rivers because the decision seems to be linked.