The Philadelphia 76ers are limping to the finish line of the 2020 NBA season in what seems like a sure sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics, but that isn’t even the franchise’s biggest problem right now. Without a major front office and coaching overhaul, the Sixers will be going nowhere fast.
As for the roster, no one aside from Joel Embiid has been making any meaningful impact in the playoffs. That includes the two players who are due to make $289 million combined over the next four years.
The Sixers are destined to be swept out of the first round by the Celtics
The Sixers have only played two games of a four-game series with the Celtics, but nothing they’ve shown so far leads anyone to believe they’ll even steal one game in the first round. Embiid is tiring out from playing extensive minutes. The 3-point shot isn’t falling. Nobody can stop Boston’s dynamic guards.
The Sixers had control of Game 1 in the third quarter, but a poor final frame let the lead slip away. Even after Philly built a 14-point first-quarter lead in Game 2, they somehow went on to lose by 27 in the end.
Embiid is doing all he can offensively, but he’s not getting much help from the supporting cast. Sure, Ben Simmons isn’t on the floor collapsing the defense and creating open shots, but the 76ers have plenty of All-Star caliber players who should be stepping up right now.
By the end of Game 2, the team looked as if it was ready to pack up their bags and leave the bubble Wednesday night. Unfortunately for Philly fans, they still have at least two games to play.
Tobias Harris and Al Horford are the most to blame for Philly’s struggles
When Tobias Harris and Al Horford joined the Sixers, fans and media members gushed about the size and versatility this team was going to have. They finally had two stars to pair with the young Embiid/Simmons combo. The Process finally paid off.
Fast forward to today.
Harris is shooting an abysmal 33.3% from the floor in the series, and he hasn’t made a single three. Horford, meanwhile, was benched for a rookie who doesn’t know how to play offense yet, and he’s only scored 10 points over the first two games against his old team.
Harris and Horford were paid to be superstars. In reality, Harris has been a mediocre starter all season long, and Horford’s game fell off a cliff from last year. He’s not even a start-worthy player in Philadelphia any more.
What’s worse, the Sixers are paying both players a boatload of money over the next four years. Both deals are eating up the Sixers’ cap space, and they’ve become two of the most untradable contracts in the entire league.
Harris and Horford are due $289 million combined over the next four years
Over the past year, the Sixers gave Harris $180 million over five years and Horford $109 million over four years. After some quick math, that’s a whopping $289 million devoted to two players over five years.
Harris and Horford haven’t just failed to live up to their massive contracts. They’ve made it nearly impossible for the Sixers to trade them and start over. What team is trading assets and taking on the $81 million left on Horford’s deal to add a backup center? Likewise, is anyone stupid enough to trade draft picks to pay the $147 million that Harris is still due?
The Sixers are most likely stuck paying both players a combined $289 million over five years. As it stands, Harris and Horford command more than half of the team’s cap for the next few seasons. The Sixers are completely handcuffed by their atrocious financial decisions moving forward, and it will cost them Embiid and Simmons’ prime years.