3 Eastern Conference Teams that got worse this offseason

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Eastern Conference
Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Amir Johnson, Greg Monroe, Justin Patton, Boban Marjanovic, Kyle O’Quinn, Tony Bradley, the ghost of Dwight Howard, Willie Cauley-Stein, the artist formerly known as DeAndre Jordan, what remains of Andre Drummond, Dewayne Dedmon, and Montrezl Harrell.

Loser Number 1: The Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid was the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 draft. Embiid famously is no stranger to injuries, as he missed the first two full regular seasons of his NBA career with injuries. What he has returned to in the City of Brotherly Love has been less than lovely. Those names I listed above are many of the names that backed up Joel Embiid throughout the years. Famously in the 2019 NBA playoffs against the Raptors, Embiid was an incredible +90 for the series. The guys who played behind him were Greg Monroe, Jonah Bolden, Amir Johnson, and Boban Marjanovic.

Once again, this summer, the 76ers had an opportunity to add a solid backup behind the reigning MVP but decided not to. The 76ers broke out of the piggy bank to sign Mo Bamba (who was waived by the Lakers) and brought back Montrezl Harrell, who has not been a winning player since he and the Clippers were embarrassed by Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets in the bubble blowing a 3-1 lead.

What other options did Philly have? Well, sometimes, the best option is the incumbent. Paul Reed, also known as Bball Paul, is a fan favorite who many fans hoped would get a better opportunity under Nick Nurse this season. While Daryl Morey has his eyes on stars and James Harden trades, the Utah Jazz and Danny Ainge slid in and gave Reed an offer sheet. Rather than just sign Reed earlier, the 76ers played with fire and now will be paying an extra $16 million in luxury tax penalties for matching the deal.

So not only did you have to pay extra for a guy you already had on your roster, but they also added two veteran centers that I don’t think many teams were bidding for.

It doesn’t stop there! The 76ers also lost two impact role players from their last playoff run who were top 9 in their playoff rotation minutes. Georges Niang was an important spacer for Philly, who left this summer for absolutely nothing. Not only did he leave, but he joined the Cleveland Cavaliers, who will be right in the mix for seeding with Philadelphia next season and longer.

They also lost Jalen McDaniels, one of their few non-30 plus wings who could guard and shoot. McDaniels also left for absolutely nothing going to the Raptors after the 76ers moved one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA in, Matisse Thybulle.

The worst of the summer is the handling of James Harden. James Harden, this offseason, has made it public that he is demanding a trade out of Philly after opting into his player option. This has put the 76ers basically in a straight jacket as the trade market is next to nothing for Harden at this time other than just a grab bag of meh assets from the Clippers.

This is less about Harden and more about Joel Embiid. If 76ers President Daryl Morey cannot convince Harden to stay (not likely) or trade Harden for another star (also unlikely), things could get SUPER uncomfortable with Joel Embiid probably looking around the room and maybe ready to ask for a trade.

This is a doomsday scenario, but even if Harden and Embiid do stay put, the 76ers undoubtedly got worse this offseason.