Which makes it confounding they reportedly want to hire Mike D’Antoni as coach.
D’Antoni has typically succeeded with teams that can play small to spread the floor and pressure opponents through speed… and struggled otherwise. Post-based Embiid and non-shooting Simmons don’t fit D’Antoni’s demonstrated style.
Maybe Philadelphia’s roster could change.
Marc Stein of The New York Times:
Former Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni and Clippers assistant coach Tyronn Lue remain top candidates for Philadelphia's coaching job, league sources say, after a third leading candidate — former Thunder coach Billy Donovan — took the Chicago job
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 23, 2020
Starting to hear a lot of buzz that the Philadelphia 76ers are are letting teams know they are open to trade talks if they hire Mike D'Antoni to be their next head coach. Philadelphia realizes that current roster, with all the bigs, isn't built to be a successful D'Antoni team.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) September 23, 2020
The 76ers could trade Al Horford and Tobias Harris to reduce their glut of bigs. But Horford was already on the block (good luck convincing anyone to take his contract), and Harris is also expensive. For what it’s worth, Harris could thrive as a small-ball power forward in D’Antoni’s system, but Harris is often pigeonholed as a small forward on this roster.
The Embiid-Simmons pairing is a fundamental issue, though. Whatever Philadelphia does with Horford and Harris, Embiid and Simmons just haven’t played like they’d fit well together under D’Antoni.
If the 76ers remain insistent on not trading Embiid or Simmons, there are only so many roster moves that can be done to help D’Antoni.
Adding further complications, Philadelphia might be seeking a new lead executive. That could explain why Tyronn Lue has also gotten so strongly linked to this job. It’s not even clear who’ll oversee the coach and roster, let alone what plan that person will have.
So, yes, it’s meaningful if the 76ers are advancing trade talks with other teams to make their roster fit D’Antoni. But there are still plenty of questions about what will actually happen in Philadelphia.