Philadelphia 76ers: Preview of realistic Al Horford trade scenarios

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Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

With Al Horford possibly on the trade block this offseason, we take a look at realistic trade scenarios that the Philadelphia 76ers could consider.

The 2019-20 NBA season has not met the expectations that the Philadelphia 76ers envisioned when they signed center Al Horford to a four-year, $109 million contract last summer.

After spending the previous three years in Boston with the Celtics, Horford opted to start a new beginning in Philadelphia with hopes of winning a championship.

Unfortunately, the fit never really clicked between Horford and the Sixers.

Philadelphia currently stands fifth in the Eastern Conference with an unanticipated record of 39-26. I don’t think anyone expected that to be the case considering the amount of talent that the Sixers possess.

It only took a few games into the 2019-20 season to realize how awkward it was having Al Horford in the starting power forward role.

Horford’s presence created spacing issues offensively. As a result, it affected the playmaking abilities of All-Stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

Simmons is an effective ball-handler with size and versatility that generates offense for his teammates with his elite passing and explosiveness off the dribble. Therefore, it’s important for Philadelphia to surround him with catch-and-shoot or deadeye shooters that are ready to fire once Simmons creates the space for them.

The same goes for Embiid as a dominant interior scorer. When he attracts other defenders to him in the interior, it’s essential for him to have the option to kick out to surrounding efficient shooters, who will likely be open for a high-percentage shot.

Al Horford is an excellent team defender, but his offensive production doesn’t correlate to the abilities of Philly’s two All-Stars. He’s been very limited in their offense as a result.

I think many would agree that shooting is what the Sixers need most, and Horford’s presence is not the most logical answer, especially when he’s on the court at the same time as Embiid.

Horford is only averaging 12.0 points per game (worst since 2008-09 season) while shooting just 44.2 percent (career-low) from the floor and 33.7 percent from beyond the arc this season.

It’s clear that the fit has been uncomfortable offensively, and 76ers head coach Brett Brown made an adjustment around mid-season of placing Horford out of the starting lineup and into the sixth man role as the backup center.

Related Story: Sixers: Grading Al Horford’s 2019-20 season

Now Philadelphia has put themselves into a situation where they are paying their backup center an average of $27.2 million per year for the next four years. That’s a blasphemous number for that kind of role.

It would make sense for them to shop Horford around the league this offseason in hopes of acquiring more efficient shooters or perimeter scorers while getting rid of his hefty contract.

Besides, Philadelphia will already be committed to the rich salaries that they owe to their three best players next season.

  • Tobias Harris – $34.3 million
  • Joel Embiid – $29.5 million
  • Ben Simmons –  $29.2 million

As of now, the Sixers are only around $2.7 million under the tax.

If they can find a reasonable deal to trade Horford for a reliable perimeter scorer(s) while saving money as well this offseason, that could be their best-case-scenario.

Let’s take a look at potential deals the Sixers could consider that involve trading away Al Horford.

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