After another season finished short of expectations, the Sixers' two-star core of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons feels as tenuous as it ever has.
Questions are floating around the long-term viability of the team's two best players, plus the surrounding roster construction, and some are wondering if Sixers leadership will eventually blow one part up and try a different look in pursuit of a championship.
On Wednesday, The Athletic published a survey of 20 player agents from around the league, a group of people who are constantly talking with organizations about short- and long-term team building plans to help their clients' futures.
One very interesting consensus was reached: agents see the Sixers as the team most likely to make a big move this offseason.
The Sixers received 6.5 votes out of 20 when the agents were asked which franchise needs a "major move" this offseason. Here was one agent's answer:
“Philly is at the point where it’s a make or break year for just about everybody.”
Yeah, I'd say that's true. The only other team even close to the Sixers was the Bucks. Milwaukee received 5.5 votes. I expected the Bucks to finish first, considering they need to convince Giannis Antetokounmpo to sign a supermax instead of leave for greener pastures. The Sixers, meanwhile, have Embiid under contract through 2023 and Simmons under contract through 2024.
Which shows you how dire the Sixers' on-court situation is.
What kind of big move could the team make? There have been myriad Al Horford rumors, and trading Tobias Harris' near-max deal would be great, though it's highly unlikely.
General manager Elton Brand said trading one of the big two is not in the plans back in August:
“I’m not looking to trade Ben or Joel,” Brand said. “I’m looking to complement them better. They’re 24 and 26 years old, respectively. You try to make that fit as long as you can. They want to be here, they want to be with our organization, and I see them here for a long, long time.”
I mean, OK. It's a solid answer, but not an ironclad one. Minds can change.
And one agent surveyed thinks there's at least a remote possibility that one of the big two could be on the move. When asked for the "highest profile player" they expect to change teams, one agent voted for Simmons.
It's not a super strong prediction, but putting Simmons in that mix is certainly intriguing.
We'll see what happens between now and tip-off for next season. If the Sixers want to avoid another disappointing year, they might want to listen to the agents and shake things up.