NBA rumors: 76ers targeting centers to replace injured Joel Embiid
The Philadelphia 76ers will be without Joel Embiid for at least four weeks, but probably more. As the reigning MVP recovers from meniscus surgery, the Sixers are left with a difficult conundrum at the trade deadline — move aggressively and try to stay afloat, or kick the proverbial can down the road.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sixers plan to operate as buyers, not sellers, ahead of Thursday's cutoff date. Philadelphia, currently the No. 5 seed at 30-19, wants to stay out of the play-in tournament with hopes of getting Embiid back for the stretch run. The plan is to give Embiid "a shot" at the title if at all possible.
The Sixers need another big to absorb minutes at the five spot until Embiid returns. Mo Bamba has been an unmitigated disaster and Paul Reed has underwhelmed in the first year of his new contract. Drummond has been popular in the rumor mill, while Olynyk figures to cost a bit more due to his versatile skill set.
Philadelphia had a different coach last time, but Drummond is familiar with the Sixers (and vice versa). He spent the first half of the 2021-22 campaign in Philly before being sent out in the James Harden trade. Drummond has been a valuable bench cog for Chicago this season, averaging 7.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.1 steals on 55.3 percent shooting in 15.8 minutes.
It's unwise to set the bar too high, but Drummond's physicality on the glass and live-wire athleticism can certainly impact winning. His confidence gets the best of him on offense at times, but Drummond is a talented pickpocket on defense with the girth to set rock-solid screens for Tyrese Maxey.
Olynyk is the better target, however. He's averaging 8.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists on .560/.429/.839 splits in 20.5 minutes for Utah. Drummond is a better defender, but Olynyk brings real value as a shooter and passer. He can also share the court with Embiid once the Sixers' superstar returns. Drummond, meanwhile, is more of a lateral move compared to Paul Reed.