Al Horford

Sixers-related items are beginning to (kind of) simmer down with the beginning of football season. So, I thought it appropriate to answer another mailbag. As always, if you have questions, reply to the mailbag tweets (@KrellTPL) or email me at austinkrell@thepaintedlines.com. 

Trading Simmons or Embiid

It depends on the timeline of events. After next season, yes, I think it will be time to start listening. Right now, you have to give another coach a chance to fix it. Ultimately, down the road, I think the unfortunate outcome of last summer’s decisions may have to be to trade one of the stars to get pieces to better fit around the remaining star. If that time comes (and assuming a new coach–probably Tyronn Lue–can’t solve the roster placed in front of him), I think the first call should be to the Washington Wizards. If they can pry away Bradley Beal, the Sixers are suddenly much more dangerous.

They do the hockey and their goalie seems to be pretty good.

Concern About Simmons’ Injury History

It’s certainly worth thinking about. You should consider that Simmons missed fewer than six games in the past two seasons prior to 2019-20. Other than the foot injury (which I believe was overblown to try to capture one last lottery pick), he has been very durable. His back injury concerns me more than the knee does. It seems as though surgery will be inevitable down the line. It might be best to take care of it sooner rather than later. Back injuries, if chronic and unresolved, can certainly hinder a player’s ability to reach their ceiling.

I understand your frustration. I get the sense they will take a bottom-up approach, meaning they start with the coaching staff, and then make changes to the front office. Also consider that this ownership group, historically, doesn’t fire people. They reduce roles and promote others. Having said that, as reported by Keith Pompey this week, it seems as though moves involving Ned Cohen and Alex Rucker are on the horizon.

Best offensive player, debatable. Best defensive player, no. There would be less of a question if he didn’t spend a significant portion of his time in Philly being passive-aggressive on the offensive end of the court to protest Brett Brown’s directives. He was very good, and certainly provided that shot-creating stability on offense, but there were times when he clearly wasn’t giving it his all. That’s ironic for obvious reasons. Defensively, he left a lot to be desired. Especially noticeable in the Toronto series was his cheating on defensive game plans that led to Philly giving up baskets. So, to answer your question, he was certainly top 3-5 since Iverson, but he was not the best.

Trade Markets for Horford and Harris

Outspoken Sixers fans on Twitter have declared that there could not possibly be a market for either. However, such is not quite the case. NBA sources told The Painted Lines that at least Sacramento and Oklahoma City have had interest in Horford. Another team that could get in the mix is the Houston Rockets. While the Sixers love the culture and intelligence that Tobias Harris provides in the locker room, he obviously was not nearly as good as they needed him to be this past season. League sources don’t see a market forming for Harris. The contract he received from Philly has made him unmovable, according to some around the NBA. In fact, one source told The Painted Lines that they got the impression that Philly was bidding against themselves when it came to re-signing Harris last summer.

While the Harris contract might be an unbreakable marriage, if they give the right people power in the front office, the Sixers could move off of Horford. If they do that, and capitalize on inexpensive depth (via draft or free agency), the Sixers can be right back in the thick of things.

Again, if you have questions, reply to my mailbag tweets (@KrellTPL) or email me at austinkrell@thepaintedlines.com.