With Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka set to become UFAs and the Philadelphia 76ers dumpster fire roaring louder than ever, would the Toronto Raptors go all-in on Joel Embiid?
All the offseason talk with the Toronto Raptors so far has been aimed towards Free Agency 2021 and “The Summer of Giannis” but what if the Toronto Raptors decide they don’t want to wait? The Raps had a stellar regular season and a great start in the bubble but were very visibly one big piece away from contending for the Larry O’Brien.
The Philadelphia 76ers themselves don’t seem to be so close. They have the talent and look fantastic on paper, but the pieces on the roster just don’t seem to fit. This is especially true for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons who both are seen as generational talents but just don’t seem to jive on and off the court for that matter.
The two players always shut down speculation and management says neither are available in trade talks. That being said, it’s just not working in Philly and you’d have to think changes are imminent and all offers would have to be pondered.
2021 First-Round pick
So what do we think? Talk about a major blockbuster.
On the Philadelphia 76ers end, a good Philly boy goes home in Kyle Lowry who bolsters their guard spot and gives them a new championship pedigree. They get what looks like a future all-defensive player in Chris Boucher who can also sink threes with a beautiful stroke for a guy his size. Then a first-rounder to help plug some roster holes and add depth to a team that lacks it.
For the Toronto Raptors, they’re getting a 26-year-old Center who is strong on both ends of the floor and has all the tools to become an absolute superstar in this league. This is a guy who averages 20-10 night in and night out and will swat your ball into infinity all day.
They would actually save money for next year with Embiid making $3 million less than Lowry next season. He is also signed through 2022-23 which would give the Raps a nice window without being locked in too long.
The extra $3 million off the Cap would help bring back guys like Fred VanVleet and maybe even Ibaka on a lesser deal if he’s willing to take it. The Toronto Raptors and Masai Ujiri have always been an aggressive team who don’t take seasons off, so why waste a year of guys like Siakam and hopefully Steady Freddy in their prime?
One knock on Joel Embiid is his commitment and effort to the game. Sometimes he seems like a guy who performs when he feels like it and has big games and no show games. JoJo is still a young guy and Nick Nurse is one who gets the most out of his players, so you’d have to think maybe a change of scenery and a new authoritarian could help whip Embiid to shape.
Shipping out North Philly’s finest, Slimm Duck, and a first-rounder would be a massive price to pay, but Do-a-180 Embiid may be one of the few guys that would be worth the price and the potential risk.
The Lineup: PG VanVleet* – SG Powell – SF Anunoby – PF Siakam – C Joel Embiid
*sign this man