3 moves the 76ers must make with Joel Embiid out indefinitely

The Philadelphia 76ers are in trouble. Here's what Daryl Morey can do to mitigate the impact of Joel Embiid's absence.

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Sixers can add another true center with Clint Capela trade

capela

The Atlanta Hawks are laying the groundwork for a trade deadline fire sale. The idea of Philadelphia trading for Clint Capela would've sounded crazy a week ago, but with Embiid set to miss a large chunk (if not all) of the season, the Sixers are suddenly in need of a super-charged backup turned temporary starter.

Capela has been the full-time starter for Atlanta all season, but Onyeka Okongwu is ready to take over. A number of teams connected to Capela — New York and Houston, primarily — would transition him to a bench role. The Sixers can envision Capela as a long-term backup to Embiid, but he's still quite impactful. Capela can handle 25-30 minutes a night while Embiid lounges on the sideline, offering Nick Nurse a true 7-footer to anchor his defensive scheme.

For the season, Capela is averaging 11.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks on 57.5 percent shooting in 25.7 minutes. The money situation is a mild holdup for the cap-savvy Sixers — he is due $22.3 million next season — but Capela can be easily rerouted in the offseason, when his expiring contract becomes a hot-ticket item.

He has regressed since his prime days in Houston, but Capela is a springy lob threat who would provide an outlet at the rim for Tyrese Maxey and Philadelphia's ball-handlers. Maxey has never played with a lob threat. Paul Reed does most of his damage below the rim. Embiid is a three-level scorer who tends to create his own looks. It's an intriguing new wrinkle for Nurse to explore. On defense, Capela can still deter drives, blanket the paint, and crash the glass.

The Hawks get Reed on a bargain contract to take over as backup center. Robert Covington is an expiring contract currently in the middle of his own injury-related absence. Atlanta also receives a future second-round pick while freeing up cap space for the 2024 offseason.