The Sixers must be aggressive as trade deadline approaches

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Sixers, Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers’ Daryl Morey speaks during a news conference at the NBA basketball team’s training facility, Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It seems like it was just yesterday that Philadelphia 76ers‘ superstar Joel Embiid cemented his second straight MVP with a 70-point performance against the San Antonio Spurs. The only stopping the Sixers’ center was the amount of games he missed going forward.

Fast forward to the present, where the Big Fella has been ruled out for an extended period after undergoing meniscus surgery. With a promising season seemly in jeopardy, the Sixers are at an impasse as the trade deadline approaches in two days.

The Sixers can expect to be without Joel for at least four weeks, likely longer, but with his injury and the other injuries Philadelphia has dealt with all season, the team has fallen to fifth in the Eastern Conference standings.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) falls over Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) on an offensive foul by Embiid during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

Philadelphia was the third-best team in the East, pushing for the second seed, but now they have lost six of seven to fall to fifth. There were rumors that Daryl Morey and company were looking to upgrade the roster but could ultimately wait until the summer when they are projected to have max cap space. With players like Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Kawhi Leonard off the board, or most likely off the board, few free agents are left.

With potential free agents off the board and Tyrese Maxey being double-teamed on a nightly basis, the team needs a scoring punch to survive the absence of the reigning MVP and stay competitive in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers are just 4-11 without Embiid, with a large enough sample size to show that this team needs to be aggressive in the trade market to avoid falling further in the standings.

Where could the Sixers turn to in the trade market?

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan, left, drives to the basket against Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Troy Wayrynen)

Whether they make multiple mid-size moves or a larger move, it needs to happen to take pressure off of their 23-year-old all-star. Whether they go after Dejounte Murray and Bogdan Bogdanovic from the Hawks or a deal that nets them a package of DeMar DeRozan and Andre Drummond from the Bulls, something needs to happen. It’s worth noting that Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fisher recently reported that Philadelphia has registered some interest in sharpshooters Buddy Hield and Bojan Bogdanovic.

Even pursue If the front office punts on this deadline, it could signal that Embiid will be out longer than expected and that this is just a lost season. Should that be the case, Philadelphia may be better off moving off of some of their more valuable role players.

With low expectations coming into the year, Embiid and Maxey’s play turned the Sixers into unexpected title contenders. The fanbase still has expectations for this team to win and if they make the right moves, they can hold the fort down until Embiid returns and try to still make a run at the Championship. With Embiid’s injury history, you never know how many more opportunities the Sixers will get.