Following an extremely disappointing 2019-20 season for the Philadelphia 76ers, there was some speculation swirling that the team would consider breaking up its young All-Star duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. That won’t be the case, according to general manager Elton Brand. Brand made it clear that the 76ers aren’t looking to trade either Embiid or Simmons while speaking on a conference call with media members on Tuesday. 

“I’m not looking to trade Ben or Joel. I’m looking to complement them better,” Brand said. “They’re 24 and 26 years old, respectively, and you try to make that fit for as long as you can. They want to be here, they want to be with our organization and I can see them here for a long, long time. … My goal, with whatever happens going forward, is making sure we are in position to truly contend. Not just lip service, to truly contend.” 

The Sixers fired head coach Brett Brown Monday, so it makes sense that the organization would want to bring in a new voice before looking to move either one of its young stars. Brown was the only coach that either Embiid or Simmons has had in the league. Though there are some lingering questions about their fit together as both prefer to play in the paint on the offensive end, Embiid and Simmons have enjoyed some solid success during the three seasons they’ve played together thus far. They led the Sixers to consecutive 50-win seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19 as well as three straight postseason appearances. They advanced to the second round both times that the two stars were healthy and available. They also appreciate each other. Just last month, Embiid said that he hoped to play alongside Simmons for the rest of his career. He also said the two have yet to reach their potential as a duo. 

“I love him and I want to be with him for the rest of my career, because I think he still has a lot of potential, and me too,” Embiid said. “We can get so much better than we are right now. I don’t see the point of ever playing with somebody else. So, that’s someone that I’d love to be playing with for the rest of my career.”   

Simmons has also previously expressed the fact that he enjoys having Embiid as a running mate in Philadelphia. 

“I love playing with Joel, I think he’s an amazing talent,” Simmons said over the All-Star break in February. “I got a lot of respect for his game, and I know that he feels the same way about me, so as long as we continue to strive and go the right way, I think we’ll be fine. We got a lot of talent, it’s kind of scary how good we can be.”    

Between the two stars, Embiid and Simmons already have 45 games of playoff experience and five All-Star appearances combined. Both are still improving as players as neither has hit his prime yet. They’re also two of the best defenders in the entire NBA, so as long as they’re both in the lineup, the Sixers are almost guaranteed of having an elite, or near-elite defense. Plus, the two seem to genuinely enjoy playing with each other. There will be doubters, as there always will be until a title is won (and sometimes even still then), but Embiid and Simmons believe that they can coexist together. It would be a major mistake if Philadelphia’s front office decided to prematurely pull the plug on this dynamic duo. Luckily, it doesn’t sound like it will. For now at least.  

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