NBA Rumors: Mike D’Antoni To Sixers Could Lead To Warriors’ Acquisition Of Joel Embiid Or Ben Simmons

Joel Embiid #21 and Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers celebrate the win over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on April 20, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
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The Golden State Warriors are one of the teams closely monitoring the Philadelphia 76ers’ situation. If either Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons becomes available on the trading block this fall, the Warriors are in a strong position to engage in a blockbuster deal with the Sixers. Since they suffered an early exit in the 2020 Playoffs, the Sixers have been continuously reminding everyone in the league that they have no intention of breaking up their young superstar duo.

However, things are expected to change once they name their new head coach. According to Drew Shiller of NBC Sports, the Sixers’ potential hiring of former Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni could strengthen the Warriors’ chances of acquiring either Embiid or Simmons in the 2020 offseason.

“There has been plenty of speculation that Golden State could look to acquire Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid this offseason. And if D’Antoni tells 76ers management he only will accept the job if the franchise trades one of their star players (perhaps he specifies which one), then maybe a trade comes to fruition. The Warriors possess a couple valuable draft picks — the No. 2 overall selection this November, and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ top-three protected first-rounder in 2021 (which becomes unprotected in 2022) — which could be enticing.”

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers celebrates with Ben Simmons #25 against the Toronto Raptors in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center on May 2, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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A potential blockbuster deal involving Embiid and Simmons has a realistic chance of happening if the Sixers hire D’Antoni. A post-based big man like Embiid and a non-shooting point forward like Simmons are clearly an odd fit in D’Antoni’s system that mostly relies on floor-spacing. Meanwhile, though the Warriors are also using a small-ball strategy, Embiid or Simmons would be an intriguing acquisition for them.

Acquiring either of them would fulfill Golden State’s dream of adding a fourth superstar that would help Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green bring the team back to title contention and revive their dynasty. Embiid would immediately address the Warriors’ need for a starting-caliber center and boost their performance on both ends of the floor. Aside from being an incredible low-post scorer, Embiid can also knock down shots from beyond the arc, rebound the ball, and protect the rim.

Meanwhile, Simmons would give the Warriors a defensive specialist who could ease the load on Curry’s shoulders in terms of playmaking and ball-handling. Sharing the court with three All-Star caliber floor-spacers would help Simmons maximize his full potential. Aside from what he could contribute on both ends of the floor, the acquisition of Simmons would also help Golden State bridge the gap to the next era of Warriors’ basketball.