After another abysmal performance in the playoffs, the Philadelphia 76ers have the look and feel of an organization ready to pull the plug on “The Process.”
The hot seat under coach Brett Brown reached a boiling point. He didn't even survive the week after seven seasons on the job, with Philadelphia reportedly firing him Monday.
General manager Elton Brand has the tall task of rebuilding an incredibly top-heavy roster. In one of the most talented starting fives in the NBA, four 76ers will make at least $28 million next season and another will make nearly $11 million.
Are the Sixers about to blow the whole thing up? If they do, should the Kings get involved in the selloff?
For starters, there's not much at the bottom of the Sixers' roster. Philly doesn’t have a bench player who would earn minutes in Sacramento, unless you expect Matisse Thybulle or Furkan Korkmaz to take major strides in expanded roles.
Joel Embiid likely is off the table, but the 26-year-old three-time All-Star is intriguing, to say the least. His long history of injury, mixed with the three years and nearly $95 million remaining on his contract, make him a huge gamble, but it’s hard to see Philly putting him on the block.
It's questionable the Kings could even put a package together that would land Embiid, but a franchise-altering big man is at least something to call about. When the name De’Aaron Fox comes up, however, the Kings should quickly move on to the next option.
Outside of Embiid, 24-year-old Ben Simmons is the most desirable player on the Sixers roster. At 6-foot-10, Simmons can play all five positions and he loves to stuff the stat sheet.
On the downside, Simmons has limited shooting range and he might not be the best long-term fit with Fox. Finding another elite distributor should be high on the Kings’ list, but trading for Simmons would cost a mint.
Simmons is about to enter the first of a five-year, $170 million extension he signed last fall. If he is the odd man out in Philly, at a minimum, the Kings would have to offer Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley and possibly the No. 12 overall pick in the upcoming draft.
With Bagley’s injury history, this still might not be enough to get it done. It’s unlikely Sacramento could come up with a different package that would make more sense for Philly, again, assuming that Fox is off the table.
Simmons has his own injury history, including a foot injury that cost him his rookie season and a knee issue that ended his playoffs and required season-ending surgery.
If not Embiid or Simmons, the Kings previously have been interested in Sixers veterans Tobias Harris and Al Horford.
Sacramento has chased Harris multiple times during his career only to come up empty. At this point, the Kings should steer clear of the talented stretch four.
Harris has four years and nearly $150 million left on the contract he signed in Philly last summer, and he’s playing for his fifth team in nine seasons in the league. He could instantly step in and fill the Kings' long-term void at power forward, but the commitment is extreme and he's unlikely to live up to his contract.
Just to match contracts, the Kings likely would send Hield and someone like Jabari Parker back to Philly. If the Kings were willing to entertain a deal like this, they likely would want future assets from the Sixers, such as a future first-round pick (at a minimum). There simply is too much money owed to someone who isn't an All-Star.
Horford was an interesting name that came up in Sacramento last offseason. But the Kings dodged a bullet -- if you can call it that -- when they signed Dewayne Dedmon.
Dedmon lasted half a season before being shipped to the Atlanta Hawks at the deadline, but dealing Horford would've been much more difficult. The 34-year-old has three years and $81 million remaining on his contract in Philadelphia. That just isn’t a good investment for a declining player who averaged fewer than 12 points and seven rebounds per game last season.
The Kings should avoid Horford’s bloated contract at all costs. Philly doesn’t have the assets to unload a player with this type of money remaining to a team like Sacramento. Maybe the Sixers can find value in a swap of aging veterans, but the Kings shouldn’t be a dance partner.
Josh Richardson is the last of the 76ers' starters, but he’s entering the final two seasons of his four-year, $42 million contract. He has a player option for the 2021-22 season and would be a short-term fix for Sacramento in a crowded backcourt.
Richardson is the least of the Sixers' problems, and it’s unlikely that these two teams would find common ground on a trade for the 26-year-old.
Overall, the Kings could potentially be trade partners with the 76ers. Any deal would have to be a major shake-up for both teams, however. Hield likely would be the starting point in any transaction, and Sacramento would need to weigh the risks and rewards.
Embiid likely is off the table, Simmons isn’t a perfect fit, Harris is owed too much money and Horford’s age and production should be a non-starter. The Kings also don’t have a front office in place currently, with Joe Dumars holding an interim tag.
Still, the Kings need to be aggressive in the trade market after missing the playoffs for a 14th consecutive season. If Sacramento can find the right partner, almost every option -- outside of trading Fox -- should be on the table.