By Dylan MacKinnon
The rumor mill around the Sixers has been busy this offseason. Some have been completely reasonable. PJ Tucker has been connected here a lot. And while that may not be the most exciting name, it is something we could reasonably see happen. But we are not here to discuss the reasonable rumors. Because in addition to those, there have been a couple of wild rumors around the Sixers the last few weeks. So let’s explore those names, where the rumors are coming from, and if there is any reality where they could happen. Starting with the one that would be the most exciting, Kevin Durant.
Could he be moved?
The biggest of the wild rumors surround KD coming to Philly. First off we need to ask if KD will even be traded, let alone to the Sixers. And at least that part is not completely out of the question. There seems to be some trouble in Nets land, with the Kyrie Irving situation being a bit of a mess (we will get to that later). Shams Charania reported KD is considering his future options.
Sources: Kevin Durant is monitoring the Brooklyn Nets’ situation and considering options with his future.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2022
This now opens the path for Kyrie Irving to proceed on finding a new home via opt-in and trade.
But with 4 years and $194 million left on his contract with Brooklyn, moving him would be tricky even if both sides wanted it. The Venn Diagram of the teams that KD would want to play for, who have the assets to make the Nets move him, and could make the money work, is tiny.
But KD is not happy, and Kyrie could very well be on the way out. And once Kyrie is gone, even with KD, this Nets team would barely be good enough to make the playoffs. In that case, KD may very well ask for a trade too. Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that is exactly what would happen if Kyrie leaves. So the possibility of KD being traded is very possible.
Connection the the Sixers
This is where the rumor starts to fall apart. The whole reason he is connected here seems to revolve around two things. How much KD likes Embiid, and his partnership with the Philadelphia Union. And if KD were a free agent, and the Sixers had cap space, those two things might make a difference. But he is not, and they do not.
Instead, KD already has a massive 4-year contract, the Sixers are cap-strapped, and the Sixers are low on tradeable assets. Bobby Marks of ESPN reported that in the scenario Kevin Durant was moved, it would be for “the biggest package in NBA History.” The Sixers have no tradeable picks, not a ton of young talent outside Tyrese Maxey. The only moveable contract they have is Tobias Harris. Offering Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, and no picks because the Nets already have all the Sixers picks, is not likely to get it done.
Its a nice pipe dream, but that’s all it is. Even if he is on the trade block, and KD wants to come here, making it work would be highly complicated. There has been no actual reporting connecting the two sides. The idea Kevin Durant would be interested in playing here makes sense. He does seem to like the idea of playing with Embiid. But it is just hard to see how it could actually be pulled off.
Verdict: Highly Unlikely
Could he be Moved?
Another one of the wild rumors for the Sixers concerns Kyrie Irving. It seems very likely he could be moved. His contract is up, and the Nets do not want to give someone they cannot trust a max contract. Its understandable that the Nets could be fed up with Kyries regular absences. He is amazing when he does play, but also hard to trust. Whether is is refusing to get vaccinated, or just the various times he has been “off the grid,” unreliable is a fair way to categorize Irving. His disappearing act partially led to them losing Harden, and now it has threatened Kevin Durant’s future with the team.
Kyrie Irving has one year left on his deal, and he can opt out of it. The one bit of leverage he has with the Nets, is if he leaves they may lose KD too. Losing them both back to back, after losing Harden, would be devasting. So there is still a chance the Nets lose this game of chicken and pay him. But after his act ran short in both Boston, and now Brooklyn, he may have less leverage than he thinks. But there is an actual chance he is moved.
Connection to the Sixers
This all stems from Kyrie Irving listing the Sixers as one of the teams he would go to if he were moved. But according to Woj the Sixers have no interest in acquiring him.
“With [Kyrie] I don’t think you say, ‘That won’t happen, that’ll never happen.’ But I think that list in terms of Dallas, Philadelphia, the Clippers – I don’t think there’s interest there.”- Woj on Get Up
They would need to shed a lot of cap space to make it happen, and with how flaky he has been, they don’t want to make that commitment.
Verdict: Not Happening
Could he be moved?
The final of the wild rumors is someone who has been rumored here before, Bradley Beal. Beal has already opted out of the final year of his deal. But that does not mean he is leaving the Wizards. He could just be trying to negotiate a pay raise. Beal has claimed he wants to stay in Washington, at least for this next year. He recently told Ava Washington of The Washington Post that he is “leaning toward signing a multiyear deal with Washington worth roughly $250 million in July.”
It is the most straight forward Beal has ever been about his future. And while it leaves open the possibility that he could go elsewhere, it makes it unlikely.
The big connection is that Joel Embiid wants Beal to come to Philly. At least according to Bill Simmons. Andrew Bogut also threw some gas on that fire before the off season at one point claiming Beal “is trying to get to Philadelphia in the offseason to team up with Harden and Embiid.” But neither of those guys are known for actually breaking news. And while Beal would make sense in theory, there is no actual indication that Beal wants to leave. He seems happy in Washington.
Could it happen? Sure. But there is no reason to think it will right now. I have seen no reliable reporting connecting the two sides, and Beal seems committed to Washington.
As fun as all these wild rumors may be, none of them are likely to happen. I wont say never, because Morey has pulled off wild deals before. But with how little the Sixers have to trade, and how cap strapped they are, making some big move would be incredibly tricky. its much more likely the Sixers make a few more moves to acquire role players, like they did with De’Anthony Melton.