Warriors

Doc Rivers' comments make Warriors-76ers trade seem unlikely

Warriors

Do the Warriors actually have a chance to acquire Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers this offseason?

Based on what coach Doc Rivers said during his 76ers introductory press conference Monday, you definitely should not expect a blockbuster trade between Golden State and Philly over the next couple of months.

“I love coaching, I absolutely love it,” Rivers told reporters. “But I was not gonna just coach anybody, I can tell you that. I was ready to take a break. It just depended on the team that was available, and if I thought that team was ready to win.

"When you look at these young players and their potential, the fact that they’ve had so much success in some ways at the ages they are already -- and where I believe they can go -- it’s a job you just couldn’t turn down. And that's why I'm here."

Translation -- the 1999-2000 NBA Coach of the Year did not take the job with the understanding the franchise was going to trade one of its franchise cornerstones. 

“We have two young [stars] here in Philadelphia that have already had success,” Rivers said. “My job is to add to that and try to take them to a place that they’ve not been. They’ve done a lot of winning but we want to be the winner.

"Winning is great but being the winner is the best, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

 

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The 76ers vastly underachieved during the 2019-20 season, and there are plenty of people in the basketball world who are skeptical about the Embiid-Simmons pairing. The doubters question whether they complement each other, and wonder if it makes more sense to break them apart.

This narrative of course has led to plenty of trade speculation, with Golden State being a potential landing spot.

But it sure sounds like the 76ers will enter next season with Embiid and Simmons on the roster, and Rivers will get the opportunity to try and make it work.

"(Embiid) is a dominant big man and will be a dominant big man for me," Rivers said.

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If things go south quickly and the organization determines the best course of action is to ship one of them out of town, perhaps a deal comes to fruition before the trade deadline.

But that is a long way from now.

So for the Warriors, it's safe to assume that unless a star player becomes available on the trade market, they will improve the roster this offseason via the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA draft, their $17.2 million traded player exception, the $6 million-ish taxpayer mid-level exception and potentially one or two veteran's minimum contracts.

"I 100 percent think we can contend for a championship next year," Golden State executive vice president of basketball operations, Kirk Lacob, told NBC Sports Bay Area in mid-August. "If we don't, that's on us, and we gotta figure out what we're doing wrong.

"We 100 percent can -- we will. We've got a lot of ammo now. We didn't have ammo before. Now we've got (ways) to add to this. We just gotta get these next few pieces right, plain and simple. We gotta do it."

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