The Philadelphia 76ers have clearly had a disappointing season for a No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. When you have a superstar like Joel Embiid on the roster, the primary goal is to win a championship. While the 76ers are a good regular-season team, they simply haven't been able to get out of the second round in the last few years.
It is clear that the 76ers should surround Joel Embiid with a squad that is a better fit for his talents. There are multiple things that they could do. Here is our perfect plan on what the 76ers should do this offseason.
Trade Ben Simmons For CJ McCollum
Ben Simmons is a fantastic basketball player. However, he is coming off of his worst playoff series yet, and many feel that the fit between Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons isn't a good one. There has been a hypothetical trade package for CJ McCollum that deserves a closer look.
CJ McCollum is a great offensive player, who can score in a variety of ways and create his own shot. A McCollum acquisition would allow the 76ers to have a bonafide second scoring option, taking some of the pressure of Joel Embiid.
On the Portland Trail Blazers' end, it seems as though a Ben Simmons acquisition could help that team's woes. They were an elite offensive team with Damian Lillard this season, but their defense was porous, which showed in their playoff defeat this year. Ben Simmons was a top 3 DPOY candidate this season, so he clearly aids them in that department. Simmons would also allow Damian Lillard to focus on scoring, while he focuses on playmaking. It's is a solid trade for both teams which fulfills both of their needs.
The Sixers Must Land Kyle Lowry
Kyle Lowry will be a free agent this summer, and the 76ers must try to land him at all costs. Kyle Lowry is a championship-caliber starting point guard, and he knows what it takes to win it all. He would also offer intangibles with his leadership off the court.
There is no doubt that it will be tough for the 76ers to acquire Kyle Lowry, as he will likely ask for a contract that is around $20 Million annually, with a 2-3 year contract length. To further complicate things, Lowry moving to the 76ers would have to be via sign and trade. However, it isn't impossible.
The 76ers would have to send out George Hill, Matisse Thybulle, and Shake Milton in return for Lowry. The Raptors would likely welcome the young talent in Thybulle and Milton, as they are currently a very young squad, and the two players match up with their timeline. George Hill would be the salary piece in this situation. With this, everybody wins. Lowry has ties to Philadelphia and would be playing for a contender, while the Raptors would be able to salvage some value from his expiring contract.
The Philadelphia 76ers have a decent amount of options in free agency, to surround Joel Embiid with the appropriate depth. Dwight Howard and Danny Green will likely leave in free agency, so the 76ers do need to make some moves to surround Embiid with solid players. They would acquire players using either the mid-level exception or a minimum contract
With Danny Green gone, the 76ers would likely have to find a wing player who can play either the SG or the SF positions. They would also have to be able to shoot at a high level. Two names that fit here are Otto Porter Jr. and Doug McDermott. Both are 3 and D wings. Both shot above 37% from 3PT range this season and would be a great fit around a dominant inside player like Joel Embiid. Carmelo Anthony would be a fit here as well, as he shot 40.9% from range, while also boasting some shot creation: the perfect 6th man.
Other options could include Andre Iguodala, JJ Redick, and Tony Snell, though the aforementioned options would be preferable. There is no doubt that the 76ers have the ability to surround Joel Embiid with shooters who fit well around him, and it is entirely feasible that veterans would be interested in joining a contending team.
The Potential 2021-22 Philadelphia 76ers
The projected starting lineup for the 76ers would include Kyle Lowry, CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid. They would also have a solid squad of shooters surrounding Joel Embiid as depth, featuring Doug McDermott, Otto Porter Jr., and Seth Curry.
Seth Curry's play in the playoffs was particularly outstanding, so there's no doubt that Doc Rivers will end up giving him more minutes. There is also potential for the 76ers to be able to run a three-guard starting lineup with Curry instead of Anthony due to Joel Embiid's defensive prowess. The three-guard lineup would be elite offensively, and while they may struggle with lengthier opponents, they would certainly be elite at scoring the ball.
The Philadelphia 76ers have the full capability to surround Joel Embiid with a roster that can help him win a championship. While their season was a disappointment this year, there's no doubt that they can improve next season.