3 centers the Sixers could target in the wake of Embiid’s surgery

Note: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links, Schneps Media may earn a commission.
CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 06: Philadelphia 76ers Center Andre Drummond (1) in action during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Chicago Bulls on February 6, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia 76ers are in a difficult spot ahead of the 2024 NBA trade deadline as superstar Joel Embiid recently underwent surgery on his meniscus and will not be evaluated for another four weeks. Despite this, the Sixers have shown no signs of punting on the season, and are expected to be active at the deadline.

Among their needs this trade season is now a center who can help eat the innings until Joel Embiid returns to the court. Here are three options at the trade deadline.

Andre Drummond

Longtime NBA center and former Sixer Andre Drummond has been in the middle of trade rumors all season long. While Chicago is in position to sell with now true path to contending in sight, they reportedly have made it clear that they are not looking to move off of their top players. Drummond though has been seen as an exception, and multiple teams have reached out to Chicago about acquiring the former No. 9 overall pick.

Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond (3) tries to shoot while defended by Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Sixers are among those teams who have registered a level of interest in reuniting with Drummond. In his latest substack post, Stein had this to say on the potential of Drummond returning:

“The 76ers, I’m told, have indeed registered interest Chicago’s Andre Drummond, joining the likes of Boston and Dallas. Drummond is widely regarded as the Most Likely Bull To Be Traded this week after literally months of trade speculation in the Windy City. Philadelphia obviously has an immediate need for reinforcements on its frontline with Joel Embiid sidelined indefinitely by a meniscus injury in his left knee.”

Drummond’s fit is obvious, he’s relatively affordable and on an expiring deal, both of which fit within the Sixers’ future plans, and he’s proven to be one of the top culture players they Sixers have seen in recent years.

While Andre Drummond won’t save the Sixers’ season on his own, he could certainly help the team remain competitive as they await Embiid’s return.

Kelly Olynyk

Nearly the anthisis of Andre Drummond, Kelly Olynyk is a far more offensively focused option for Philadelphia. Though a solid rebounder, he his far better known for his ability to stretch the floor. In addition to his shooting, Olynyk is also a more than capable passer, especially for his size.

Utah Jazz forward Kelly Olynyk (41) looks to pass the ball as Houston Rockets guard Fred VanVleet, center left, defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Working alongside Tyrese Maxey, the opportunity exists for the two to form a two man game, similar to that of Maxey and Embiid, which could give the Sixers an ol’ reliable of sorts in their gameplan.

Olynyk’s aforementioned rebounding would also be a positive addition for Philly, but perhaps the most attractive trait in the eyes of the Sixers would be his expiring contract, which would help preserve Philadelphia’s cap flexibility into next season.

Dario Saric

Another former Sixer, Dario Saric has enjoyed a a strong season in Golden State, one the is arguably his best offensively speaking. Shooting over 40 percent from deep on nearly four attempts pergame, Saric has seen his range expand since making the move from powerfowward to center.

Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis (10) tries to move between Golden State Warriors forward Dario Saric (20) and center Kevon Looney (5) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Likely the most affordable of all three options, and on an expiring deal like both Drummond and Olynyk, Saric would also give the Sixers the flexibility they desire moving forward.

While he may not be a difference maker in his own right, adding a player who is comfortable beyond the arc, capable of making the right pass, and sizing up at least of centers defensively is quite the sales pitch.

The NBA’s trade deadline is set for Thursday, Feb, 8, at 4:00PM. By then, we should have a better idea of the direction this Sixers’ season will be taking.