We have been having this discussion all summer. The Philadelphia 76ers have a loaded and young front court with Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, and don’t forget Elton Brand is around. The Sixers have other needs. So, the team has tested the trade market for both Noel and Okafor. However, despite some ridiculous (and not close to true) rumors, they have not been close to a deal.
Part of the issue is leverage. Every team in the league knows the Sixers are looking to make a deal, so the offers coming through the door are lowball ones from teams trying to steal a player on the cheap.
Which is why while on The Vertical Podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski, Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo denied aggressively shopping the two young bigs (who have shown they don’t play well together).
“Making a statement that absolutely something will be done is not necessarily the case. I think what I said over the course of the summer is there is no doubt that we got three talented players. It’s a high-class problem to have…
“But I never felt compelled that we have to do something, because it will work itself out over the course of time. Some of it will work itself out with contract negotiations and free agency. There’s different things that are staggered in terms of timeline.”
Noel’s rookie contract reaches its third year this summer, when the Sixers must either offer an extension or give him a qualifying offer, keeping him for another year on rookie scale then letting him become a restricted free agent. Embiid comes up the summer after that. Then Okafor the next summer.
Colangelo doesn’t want to lose Noel and Okafor for nothing in restricted free agency — or be forced to match a big offer from another team to keep them — so he will continue to look for a suitable deal. But he also has some time, all of this season and into next summer and beyond. He will keep talking to teams as everyone moves through training camp, and a few teams start to deal with injuries, and maybe the offers improve.
Colangelo doesn’t want to seem desperate. He’s got to be able to wait for a deal that feels like a win for him and the team.
But that deal is coming.