The Philadelphia 76ers have among the best odds in the league of winning the NBA title next season despite what looks to be an odd fitting roster. Will Al Horford and Joel Embiid be a good match together up front? Will the Sixers be able to make up for a lack of shooting with JJ Redick now in New Orleans? And will Ben Simmons ever get his outside shot to a point where other teams have to at least mildly respect it?
It’s a lot of ifs, but we now live in an NBA landscape where every contender has major question marks. Elton Brand seems quite content with rolling out what he currently has to start next season, with no more major moves forecasting this summer.
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That could change, though, if the Sixers get off to an underwhelming start this coming season, and if Ben Simmons does not sign an extension.
Simmons remains the Sixers most tradeable asset, and there is the train of thought that the franchise would be better off if they had a more traditional point guard running the show. Someone like Chris Paul or Kyle Lowry would be ideal to complement Embiid, who is the unquestioned franchise cornerstone in Philly.
FOX Sports’ Chris Broussard brought up the possibility that the Sixers would ship Simmons to Oklahoma City in exchange for Paul, who was just dealt there from Houston. But taking on Paul’s contract would be a massive gamble for Brand and the Sixers as Paul’s contract is regarded as one of the worst in the NBA. He will be 37 years old when he next hits free agency in 2022.
Lowry is a much more intriguing possibility. He is a Philly guy. He is only on the books for one more season, and he is a much better fit for the Sixers than Simmons.
As the New York Times’ Marc Stein recently pointed out on The Ringer NBA podcast, the Raptors are going to be selling off all of their championship pieces this season as Masai Ujiri embarks on a complete rebuild in Toronto. The goal for Ujiri is to have a Pelicans-level cache of assets by next summer.
There won’t be that many suitors for Lowry, as nearly all of the elite teams in the NBA are set at the point guard position. The Lakers are an exception, of course, but Los Angeles does not have much in the way of assets to offer Toronto in exchange for a fringe All-Star like Lowry.
The Sixers could wind up as one of the only teams in the Lowry market around the trade deadline, and could conceivably get him on the cheap. There are scenarios in which the Sixers could take on Lowry’s contract without having to give up Simmons, but there would need to be some major salary cap gymnastics being done by Brand ahead of time.
Keep an eye on the Spurs as well, as the reunion of Lowry and DeMar DeRozan in San Antonio would be appealing to Gregg Popovich.
All told, the Lowry situation will be one of many fascinating subplots this coming season.