Although the Phoenix Suns made a major upgrade this offseason by acquiring 10-time All-Star Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder, a recent trade idea detailed a hypothetical transaction that would allow the Suns to acquire yet another established talent — Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.
On Thursday, NBA Analysis Network explained that the Suns now have a chance of “[pulling] off a solid run,” with Paul set to start alongside Devin Booker when the 2020-21 season kicks off on Tuesday, December 22. But with the Western Conference still loaded with talented teams, the outlet suggested that Phoenix might need to land another “foundational piece,” especially since Paul is 35 years old and possibly approaching the tail end of his career.
In its proposed trade, NBA Analysis Network recommended that the Suns could acquire Embiid and reserve guards Derrick Walton Jr. and Isaiah Joe in exchange for a package featuring starting center Deandre Ayton, 2020 first-rounder Jalen Smith, reserve small forward Cameron Johnson, and first-round picks in the 2024 and 2026 drafts. As explained, this move could “amplify” Booker’s status as the Suns’ top scorer as Embiid joins the team as a third star-caliber player.
“The two-man game possibilities with Embiid at center and having high-level ball handlers like Chris Paul and Devin Booker would be very difficult to stop. All three players form matchup problems and would apply tremendous pressure on any defense.”
As further noted, Embiid’s potential arrival could help Phoenix match up better against teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, and Utah Jazz, who respectively have top-tier big men in Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, and Rudy Gobert in their starting lineups.
As for the Sixers, rumors have long swirled regarding the possibility that they might break up their superstar duo of Embiid and Ben Simmons. If they choose to part with the former, NBA Analysis Network wrote that Ayton could be a “solid” replacement for Embiid, considering his status as a recent first overall draft choice with a good mid-range jumper and the ability to finish plays. Johnson and Smith were described as “fascinating” supporting players who could thrive thanks to Simmons’ playmaking skills.
Aside from the Suns, the Golden State Warriors have also been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Embiid in the event the Sixers decide to move him. Late last month, it was suggested that the Warriors could get the three-time All-Star in exchange for 2020 second overall pick James Wiseman, Andrew Wiggins, Eric Paschall, and the 2021 first-round choice Golden State previously acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves.