Philadelphia 76ers fans received a little bit of an unexpected mid-August jolt of excitement on Wednesday when Ian Begley of SNY reported that the Kevin Durant would welcome a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers.
From Begley's report:
So what happens now? Well, it’s worth noting that, in addition to Boston, Durant also sees Philadelphia as another welcome landing spot, per people familiar with the matter.
The report also said that the Sixers felt strongly about engaging with the Nets on a Durant trade. Which is obvious (Sixers front office execs have eyes, so therefore have interest in Durant), but worth noting as well.
Should the Sixers be willing to trade Maxey for Durant? Do the Sixers have enough to to actually land Durant? Let's break it down.
Would I give up Tyrese Maxey for Kevin Durant?
This has become a point of contention in Sixers Twitter since the report initially came out, and I get the reasons, both emotional and logical, why some would be hesitant to trade Maxey for virtually anyone, Kevin Durant included. Maxey is young (still just 21), and improved by leaps and bounds last year. With still two years left on his rookie contract and a lot of theoretical team control left thanks to the NBA's restricted free agency rules Maxey could be a building block of the Sixers franchise over the next decade, or longer.
On top of that, there's the emotional angle of being a fan, of watching the homegrown kid unexpectedly develop into a force in the league, and the almost romantic notion of him playing his entire career for one team, for one city and for one fan base. If that means more to you than a percent (even significant) increase in the chance of winning a championship, I can't really argue with that. We all have different priorities as fans and one isn't necessarily more valid than the other.
But, for me, it is, has been, and always will be about the pursuit of the championship.
Even now, 14 years later, I still have my ticket to Game 5 of the 2008 World Series displayed in my office. It's not about the championship, it's about the moments that led up to it, and the memories that came from it: the tension and electricity in Citizens Bank Park as anticipation built up over the course of a historic Game 5; the eruption of unbridled and uncontrollable joy from every person in attendance, in unison, when Eric Hinske flailed desperately at a Brad Lidge breaking ball and ended Philadelphia's 25-year championship drought; the celebration on the street in the days that followed with thousands of your closest friends.
Those moments will live on with me in a way that a thousand regular season games never could, and being able to cap off this era of basketball, and Joel Embiid's journey, with a championship would do wonders for the city of Philadelphia and its die-hard basketball fan base.
And I think Kevin Durant does more to raise the Sixers' championship odds over the next three years than Tyrese Maxey will do in a decade.
I say that for two reasons.