Despite Rumors on Eventual Trade Swirling, Joel Embiid Given -750 Odds to Open 2020-21 Season With Sixers

Joel Embiid dunks
Could the Sixers really consider dealing Joel Embiid? Photo from KA Sports Photos (Flickr)
  • Joel Embiid was booed by the Philadelphia 76ers crowd this week and rumors have begun to swirl whether he’s a long term fit in Philly
  • The Sixers are currently in the bottom half of the East playoff race despite a roster loaded with stars
  • A prop has been offered on whether the Cameroonian star will remain with his team going into next season

Joel Embiid being traded has become a very real possibility. Brian Windhorst mentioned on Monday’s episode of The Hoop Collective podcast that front offices around the NBA are beginning to wonder if the Philadelphia 76ers would trade their superstar center and how much he would cost.

The Sixers’ title odds have faded since being one of the favorites to make the NBA Finals before the season started. They own a 33-21 record and look unlikely to have home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Odds on Joel Embiid’s Team for Opening Night of 2020-21 NBA Season

Team Odds
Philadelphia 76ers -750
Miami Heat +1100
Washington Wizards +1400
Golden State Warriors +1500
Portland Trail Blazers +1600
Oklahoma City Thunder +1800

Odds taken Feb. 11.

What It Would Take for Sixers to Deal Embiid

After entering the year with championship-or-bust expectations, the Sixers are at risk of going out in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The fit with Embiid and Ben Simmons isn’t getting any better. Simmons needs to play quickly, attacking the paint in transition. When he shares the floor with Embiid, there’s no space for Simmons to drive into. Embiid’s presence requires a slower pace. Their ideal offenses are polar opposites.

An ill-fitting roster beyond Simmons and Embiid has exacerbated the issues. A first-round exit or a poor showing in the second round will see wholesale changes. Brett Brown will almost certainly lose his job, Elton Brand could too, and a blockbuster trade involving Simmons or Embiid is certainly possible.

The health concerns surrounding Philly’s All-NBA center make him the more likely player to be moved. Building a title-winning team around a low-post big man is trickier in the modern game than throwing three-and-D guys around Simmons.

Potential Trades

The Sixers would be looking for multiple picks and young talent for Embiid.

Although Jimmy Butler has already started recruiting Embiid on Instagram, the Miami Heat already owe a lot of first-round picks. The fit with Embiid and the non-shooting Bam Adebayo isn’t straight forward. Despite Butler and Embiid’s relationship, and Miami’s star-chasing tendencies, they aren’t a probable destination.

Washington could try to construct a deal using Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans along with future picks to put Embiid alongside John Wall and Bradley Beal. The Wizards would quickly become legitimate contenders in the East, but it would be a major gamble on the future health of Embiid and Wall, who has played just 73 NBA games since the 2016/17 season.

Maybe the Golden State Warriors rebuild some of Andrew Wiggins’ value and flip him along with the pick just acquired from the Timberwolves. Perhaps the Blazers work out a multi-player trade that sees the Sixers add CJ McCollum, an ideal teammate for Simmons. Oklahoma City have salaries to trade, and Sam Presti has enough assets to acquire any player he wants.

Embiid’s price on the trade market will be high. Teams will be well aware of the potential risk considering his health, and it would be interesting to see how he’s valued after the haul the New Orleans Pelicans got for Anthony Davis.

Most Likely Outcome

As the odds suggest, an Embiid trade is still very unlikely. Even if they disappoint in the postseason, the Sixers will likely give the Simmons-Embiid pairing another chance with a new coach and perhaps a radically different set of teammates. The super-big starting five they run out now could be a defensive monster, but the lack of ball-handling and shooting is problematic.

The prospect of a Thunder trade might be the most intriguing of the lot with their historic collection of picks. One can’t help but wonder what Embiid looks like next to Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, too.

Having processed for so many years to land two generational talents, the Sixers will be inclined to give the pair another chance in 2020/21. A new coach might find a way to make it work, or maybe Simmons finally starts shooting jumpers.

An Embiid trade request could change the situation drastically, but despite the recent booing, that isn’t a probable scenario.

Pick: Philadelphia 76ers (-750)

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