The lack of basketball has some news outlets stretching for content, huh? With the lack of typical daily updates from the 30 NBA teams we'd otherwise be getting at this time of the year, columnists are instead working on new and creative ways to grab the attentions of readers and fans -- for better or worse.
For 76ers columnist Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Tuesday felt like the time to write a piece suggesting that the team could eventually feel forced to trade away star center Joel Embiid.
If that sounds crazy, you're not wrong. But this is just where we are right now in these strange days of COVID-19.
In his column, Ford suggests that owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer may have felt "embarrassed" by Embiid after he stepped in to help pay the salaries of the organization's more economically vulnerable employees during the coronavirus pandemic. That came after news reports revealed that Harris and Blitzer were going to enact massive pay cuts despite Harris being reportedly worth almost $4 billion. As a result of this alleged embarrassment, Ford suggests the Sixers might feel forced to dumb Embiid.
Additionally, Ford suggests that Embiid desperately wanted Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick back on the team after their run to the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season. That didn't happen, as the 76ers instead shipped off Butler to the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade, while allowing Redick to walk to the New Orleans Pelicans in free agency.
No, not the greatest way to keep your star happy. But does that mean he automatically has to be done in Philly, leaving the highly talented but plainly flawed Ben Simmons with the keys to the kingdom?
Yes, the relationship between 76ers brass and Embiid is in need of repair, and Ford is far from the first to suggest that Embiid might get traded one day. And considering this is the NBA, we should fully expect something crazy and drastic to happen if Philly cannot catch up to the Bucks in the East in the years to come. But as it stands, the silly season we generally don't get until June has clearly arrived early.