Rumors started to swirl this week after it was reported that the 76ers are among Kevin Durant’s preferred destinations. Durant and recently-resigned James Harden have seemed to let by gones be by gones and reportedly would like to play together again. Durant has also gone on record to say how much respect he has for Joel Embiid and would like to play with him one day as well.
So if Durant wants to come to Philadelphia, the Sixers have to get the deal done, right? Well, not so fast.
To acquire Kevin Durant from the Nets, the Sixers are going to have to give up the future for all intents and purposes. A trade for Durant would surely start with Tyrese Maxey, it would have to include Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle and a truckload of first round picks.
While this trade would certainly skyrocket the Sixers to the top of the Eastern Conference and make them the favorite to win the NBA Finals, it would also shorten an already short window to win. Joel Embiid realistically has two or three more seasons playing at this MVP caliber level and James Harden is already showing signs of aging, adding a soon to be 34 year old Durant to this depleting core would make them great in the present day, but the future will be ugly.
Many fans have argued this week whether it makes sense to part with Maxey for Durant but that’s not the question. If it were that simple the answer is yes 100% of the time. The Sixers would not only be parting with Maxey who has shown signs of being a blue chip player, but they’d be accepting 5-10 years of misery after this core splits up.
So ask yourself, is a shot at an NBA Title for the next two or three years worth repeating the worst years of the process all over again, but even worse? In 2016 during the 10 game win season, the franchise at that time had a direction, they were losing but it was for a reason because they had draft picks. With all the Sixers picks for the foreseeable future being dealt for Durant, the franchise will be in shambles when this core splits up.
Even though seeing Durant, Harden, and Embiid dawn a Sixers uniform at the same time would be amazing, it just isn’t smart. Daryl Morey needs to show some restraint here, play it safe and build this team organically.
Photo via Getty Images Dustin Satloff