Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Boston Celtics during the first quarter in game seven of the 2023 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals at TD Garden on May 14, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Joel Embiid sent Sixers fans into a panicked frenzy this morning. A video started circulating late last night of Joel Embiid saying that he wants to win a Champion in Philadelphia, “or anywhere else.” It’s the or anywhere else that has fans worried. It is a suggestion that we could be near the breaking point for Joel Embiid in Philly. After 5 2nd round exits, is Joel Embiid almost ready to ask out?

Maybe? And in anticipation of that, there are people who want to trade him before he does. Thinking that it would mean they could get a better deal now than after he asks for a trade. But whether he actually is thinking about asking out or not, it does not matter. You do not get better by trading him. Regardless of when you trade him, you are going to lose that deal.

What could they possibly get right now that would make trading him worth it? First-round picks? One, unless it comes from a 3rd team that pick will not be any good. Two, you have no clue where that pick will be because of the lottery. Players? Any team trading for Embiid would want to pair him with whatever elite talent they already have. You aren’t going to get an active player whose value is equal to Embiid. Let’s say he goes to the Heat. So what would it be? Bam Adebayo? That’s what you want to blow it up for?

Being worried about those statements is understandable. We don’t know if he means it, because Embiid says a lot of things. Just the idea he could mean it is scary for the future of the Sixers. But it does not matter. You don’t trade Embiid. The Sixers’ only chance to get out of this bad situation is to hope something works out this season.

Because trading Super Stars almost never works out for the people trading him. Need proof? Here is the recent history of what teams have gotten back for trading Super Stars. And you will notice a pattern. None of the teams who traded the Super Star have seen much success since doing so.

  • Nets Trade James Harden to Philly

    Brooklyn receives:

    • Ben Simmons
    • Seth Curry
    • Andre Drummond
    • 2022 first-round pick (unprotected) (deferred to 2023 and became pick 21)
    • 2027 first-round pick (protected

    Philadelphia receives:

    • James Harden
    • Paul Millsap

    The Nets were in a unique position at the time because they had two other Super-Stars. A year after making this trade, they had none of them. This trade has been a bit of a disaster for the Nets. Andre Drummond left after the half-season. Seth Curry is leaving this offseason and barely played last year. And Ben Simmons, well we know how much of a disaster he is.

    The picks became 21 in this past draft, and the 2027 pick is top 8 protected. So even if the Sixers do fall apart, they won’t get the benefit of a high pick. And that is the thing about picks. When you trade a Super Star, the picks never end up being good. They are either protected or outside the lottery.

    It didn’t work out great for the Sixers either. But that doesn’t help the Nets.

    PHOENIX, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 01: James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets during the first half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on February 01, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.

    (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Pelicans Trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers

    Lakers receive:

    •  Anthony Davis

    New Orleans receives:

    • Lonzo Ball
    • Brandon Ingram
    • Josh Hart
    • No. 4 pick in the 2019 draft
    • 2022 first-round pick swap in the 2023 draft and the
    • Lakers’ 2024 first-round pick with the right to defer it to 2025.

    Washington receives:

    • Isaac Bonga
    • Jemerrio Jones
    • Moritz Wagner
    •  Lakers’ 2022 second-round pick

    You could argue this is the best haul any team got back for trading a Superstar. Brandon Ingram is a borderline All-Star. Hart helped them land CJ McCollum. The 4th overall pick went to Atlanta to bring back Jaxson Hayes. And they flipped Lonzo Ball a couple of seasons later.

    And yet, what do they have to show for it? Brandon Ingram is the only big piece left. I suppose the Lakers 2024, or 2025 pick if they defer, could be something? The Lakers won’t be bad enough this year. If LeBron leaves after next year though, 2025 could maybe be something. They made the playoffs once and lost in the 1st round. As good as the haul was, so far it has not led to very much for them. And this is an example people will raise of a team getting a good deal when trading a Super Star.

    NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 21: Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots over Jusuf Nurkic #27 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half of Game Four of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs at the Smoothie King Center on April 21, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Pelicans defeated the Trail Blazers 131-123 to sweep the series 4-0.

    (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

  • Thunder Trade Paul George To Clippers

    LA Clippers receive: 

    • Paul George

    Oklahoma City receives: 

    • Danilo Gallinari
    • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
    • Miami’s 2021 and 2023 first-round picks
    • The Clippers’ 2022, 2024, and 2026 first-round picks;
    • Pick swaps in 2023 and 2025

    Again, another deal where on paper, the Thunder got good value back. Shai is a stud, and that is a lot of picks. But none of those Clippers picks will be worth anything. Nor will the Heat picks. And the picks swaps, well it is unlikely the Thunder will use those because their picks will likely be worse than the Clippers in 2025 anyway.

    The Thunder made the playoffs once after this trade and made the play in the year after. They are a team with a nice crop of young guys. But are they a team that is going to win anything anytime soon? Probably not. But getting this much back is probably the best-case scenario for any team trading a Super Star.

    CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 01: Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder watches on against the Charlotte Hornets during their game at Spectrum Center on November 1, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

  • Spurs Trade Kawhi Leonard to Raptors

    Toronto receives:

    • Kawhi Leonard
    • Danny Green

    San Antonio receives:

    •  DeMar DeRozan,
    • Jakob Poeltl
    • A top-20-protected 2019 first-round pick

    The Spurs have not done much at all since making this trade. They may finally be on the rise, after winning the Draft Lottery. And that is the one beneficial thing of trading a Superstar, it often makes you bad enough to be in that lottery discussion. But that will happen whether you trade Embiid now, or wait for him to ask out.

    Demar Derozan isn’t there anymore. And Poeltl is not exactly a needle mover. It is not a great return for a player of Kawhi Leonard’s caliber.

    HOUSTON, TX - MAY 05: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs battles for the ball against Trevor Ariza #1 of the Houston Rockets during Game Three of the NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals at Toyota Center on May 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas.

    (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • Magic Trade Dwight Howard to Lakers

    Los Angeles receives: 

    • Dwight Howard
    • Earl Clark
    • Chris Duhon

    Orlando receives:

    • Arron Afflalo
    • Al Harrington
    • Christian Eyenga
    • Josh McRoberts
    • Maurice Harkless
    • Nikola Vucevic
    • 2013 second-round pick
    • 2014 first-round pick (via Denver or New York)
    • 2015 first-round pick (via Philadelphia)
    • 2015 second-round pick (via Lakers)
    • 2017 first-round pick (via Lakers)

    Philadelphia receives:

    • Andrew Bynum

    Denver receives:

    • Andre Iguodala

    Sixers fans are all too familiar with this trade. It’s the thing that eventually kicked off our process. But obviously, the important part here is what the Magic got back. And clearly, it was a lot. But all those players, and all those picks. And yet, all these years later, they are still cellar dwellers. Some of those players, notably Vucevic, played well for them. But it never led to any winning.

    They have used all those picks, and most of those players are gone. Enough time has passed to say this trade did not work for the Magic. It didn’t work for any team involved. But for what is relevant to this conversation, the Magic traded their Super Star center and got nothing of long-term value back.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic walks across the court in Game One of the 2009 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on June 4, 2009 in Los Angeles, California

    (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

  • Timberwolves trade Kevin Love to Cavs

    Cleveland receives: 

    • Kevin Love

    Minnesota receives: 

    • Anthony Bennett,
    • Andrew Wiggins
    • Thaddeus Young

    Philadelphia receives:

    • Alexey Shved
    • Luc Mbah a Moute
    • Cleveland’s 2016 first-round pick

    On paper, this feels like it should be the perfect trade of a Superstar. The Cavs just so happened to be in the place where they had the first overall pick and got the prize of the draft in Wiggins, yet also were ready to compete so interested in trading for a Super Star. That is rarely the case. And even if it does, it did not work out for the Wolves. Wiggins was not a bust, but not the generational player he was billed as.

    The Timberwolves are still not really back from this trade. They got another star in Karl Anthony Towns. But it has not led to much winning.

    But it does show there is a benefit to waiting until draft time. Because then you can at least know what player from the draft you are getting in return. If you did it now, you are just buying a lottery ticket and hoping it cashes.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 28: Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves is defended by Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers in the first half at Staples Center on November 28, 2012 in Los Angeles, California

    (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

  • Denver Trades Carmelo Anthony To Knicks

    New York receives: 

    • Carmelo Anthony
    • Chauncey Billups
    • Anthony Carter
    • Sheldon Williams Corey Brewer

    Denver receives: 

    • Wilson Chandler
    • Raymond Felton
    • Danilo Gallinari
    • Timofey Mozgov
    • New York’s 2012 second-round pick
    • New York’s 2013 second-round pick
    • New York’s 2014 first-round pick
    • Pick swap with Minnesota in 2016

    Minnesota receives:

    • Eddy Curry
    • Anthony Randolph
    • New York’s 2015 second-round pick and cash

    At the time, Carmelo was probably the best player in Nuggets’ history. Now Jokic has that crown. But trading Anthony was a big deal. And in the short term, it worked. Danilo Gallinari helped lift them to a 57-win season before his injury derailed the season. Long term though, it did not do too much for them.

    That 2014 first-round pick ended up in Philly and turned into Dario Saric. The 2nd round picks were not one of the picks that turned into Jokic. It was a good return. But as we have seen with nearly every other team, it did not lead to long-term winning.

    DENVER - NOVEMBER 07: Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets heads up court against the Dallas Mavericks during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on November 7, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Mavericks 108-105.

    (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

  • Jazz trade Deron Williams to Nets

    Nets receive:

    • Deron Williams

    Utah receives: 

    • Derrick Favors
    • Devin Harris
    • 2011 first-round pick
    • 2013 first-round pick

    At a time, Deron Williams was at that level of a star. We never really saw it after he left the Jazz. But it was a pretty big deal when he landed with the Nets. And they got decent value back. But that is mostly because the Nets were a disaster. They got the 3rd overall pick. But that, unfortunately, turned into Enes Kanter.

    It feels really unlikely that the Sixers would trade Embiid to a team, and have them fall apart as quickly as the Nets did after this trade. And even though it worked out, it didn’t really. This didn’t lead to some great Jazz rebuild. Eventually, they got better, but not because of things they got back in this trade. And now they are rebuilding again.

    SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 8: Deron Williams #8 of the Utah Jazz drives on Carlos Arroyo #8 the Miami Heat during the second half of an NBA game December 8, 2010 at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Heat beat the Jazz 111-98.

  • Rockets trade James Harden to Nets

    Houston receives:

    • Rodions Kurucs
    • Dante Exum
    • Brooklyn’s 2022, 2024, and 2026 first-round picks
    • pick swaps with Brooklyn in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027
    • Milwaukee’s 2022 first-round pick

    Indiana receives:

    • Caris LeVert
    • second-round picks in 2023 and 2024

    Cleveland receives: 

    • Jarrett Allen
    • Taurean Prince

    And now we come to the other big Harden deal. The players they got back turned into nothing. The picks still have a chance. The Nets were not a lottery team last year. Could they be one going forward? It feels like Mikal Bridges and co. may be good enough to avoid that, even if it is just to go out in round 1.

    This still could pan out. But so far they have not gotten much out of it. It depends on what happens with the picks going forward. But as we have seen, getting a ton of picks back, very rarely works out for teams. It is usually at best middle of the first-round picks. And while those could pan out well, that is no guarantee. Do we really want to give up Embiid, before we have to, in the hopes a pick in the 20s works out for them? That is not something I want to do.

    SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 01: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets in the second quarter of play against the San Antonio Spurs during Game One of the NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals at AT&T Center on May 1, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas.

    (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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