The Philadelphia 76ers were expected to show some signs this season. After years of tanking, the 76ers were expected to be a team that was considered an up-and-comer. Joel Embiid showed the superstar potential he has, Ben Simmons was healthy and showed what he could do and the Sixers were able to propel themselves into the playoffs. Unfortunately, they were not able to defeat the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals despite them not having Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving. The deficiencies of their team were shown. Of course with a young team, they will only get better over time. Ben Simmons will not be the same Ben Simmons he was this year and neither will Joel Embiid and other players on this team. Even with the growth of Simmons and Embiid, the Sixers still need more. They have been rumors of LeBron James coming there and staring for them, but one name that should be mentioned is Kawhi Leonard.
There is not much buzz about Leonard and Philly but if he is healthy, then he is an immediate upgrade at a position of need for them. Last season, Robert Covington was their small forward. He had a very good regular season, shooting the basketball good from three-point range and overall and he was good defensively during the regular season too, garnering him first-team NBA All-Defense honors. As good as he was in the regular season, he completely floundered in the postseason. He shot an anemic 31% from the field and he was not his usual self defensively. Some will chalk that up to it being his first playoff experience, but others may say that he showed what he really is when it counts. Adding Kawhi to this team would bring them a proven winner at the small forward position. As the Sixers currently are constructed, they don't have a top-flight wing scorer that can create his own shot and dominate at all three levels offensively (short, intermediate and three-point range). Also with Kawhi, he is a top-flight defender and arguably the best defender in the NBA when healthy. He would bring a great deal to them on both ends of the floor.
As far as the pieces the Sixers could move, they definitely have an interesting bit of players they could move to the Spurs. Two players that definitely will not be moved are Simmons and Embiid. Both are considered the building blocks of the team and could potentially blossom into superstars for Philly. One piece that will more than likely be moved if the 76ers acquire Leonard is Dario Saric. Packaging him and Robert Covington for Leonard and a shooter like Bryn Forbes would be something that could benefit both teams. Covington is a wing that can shoot and play defense and Saric could be a versatile big that could fit alongside Aldridge. Forbes could fit in Philly, helping to bring them more shooting and replacing some of the shooting Reddick brought should he leave this offseason. And we know what Leonard would bring should he be healthy.
The addition of Leonard to this roster would bring some championship experience to the team along with an upgrade at the small forward position and it would not cost the 76ers much at all outside of Saric. The one thing they have to hope for if they make this trade is Leonard wanting to stay with them past one year. If they are spending one year trying to convince him about how good Philly is, then that is a dangerous proposition and they could end up trading Saric for nothing in that scenario. Philly, here is your chance to get better. The question is will they take the chance or try to go another route?