Life is more fun when the Sixers-Celtics rivalry is in full swing, and while the two teams haven't had many major sparks lately it seems Joel Embiid is still keeping tabs on what's going on in Boston.
Specifically, he's making sure to check in on the Celtics as they struggle through another underwhelming season and have some public disagreements in postgame press conferences.
After the Celtics lost a second straight game Monday night, falling to 3-7 in their last 10, a pair of Boston leaders had a bit of a... difference of opinion, let's say, in assessing where the team stands:
As Russell Westbrook would say, Ah! That's very interesting!
And you know exactly who was lurking on Twitter on Monday night as the Celtics wallowed:
Joel is always watching!
Earlier this year, Ben Simmons-for-Jaylen Brown trade talks between the two front offices were reported by The Athletic's Shams Charania, which would a truly perfect result of this agonizing Simmons trade demand saga for Sixers fans.
It seemed from Charania's reporting that the Celtics initiated the talks about exploring Simmons trade possibilities, and that Sixers president of basketball operations told them those talks would need to start with Brown coming to Philly. Subsequent buzz made Boston sound less than interested in moving Brown at the time - but you never know how they'd feel if it became clear that the current Celtics core simply isn't working.
So let's check in on the state of the Celtics, courtesy of NBC Sports Boston insider Chris Forsberg:
"It feels highly probable that, when the calendar flips to 2022, the Celtics will be 18-18 with the midseason checkpoint in sight. If Boston had found ways to get to the finish line of recent games against the 76ers and Bucks, then maybe investing in this core would be an easier decision. Fumbling away both games and sitting 7-11 versus teams .500 or better might suggest it’s more prudent to take a step back with hopes of accelerating future progress."
Now we're talking.
It's still true that the Celtics have sounded extremely reticent to trade Brown in any situation. He's young, he's fabulously talented, and he's got a high ceiling. But you can largely say those things about Simmons - except he also comes with his current struggles with being mentally prepared to play and his apparent reluctance to shoot the ball in big moments.
If the Sixers want to trade Simmons for Brown, they'll have to trade other pieces as well. Right now he's the better asset. And if I'm a Sixers fan, I'm totally fine with that. I would imagine Morey is ready to do basically whatever it takes to get someone as good as Brown.
So for now, Sixers fans should be keeping tabs on Boston's deteriorating situation - just like their big man is.