By Mark Gallagher

The Sixers are presently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference when preseason expectations said they would be battling the Bucks for the top seed.

So coach Brett Brown is on the hot seat and the boo-birds are focused on Ben Simmons and fellow All-Star Joel Embiid.

What would another season without championship contention mean for Philly? Could we be looking at general manager Elton Brand blowing the whole thing up?

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, rival NBA teams are preparing for that possibility:

“My point is people are talking about that (a possible Embiid trade). I don’t think they would do that without making an adjustment to the head coach. It’s such a radical thing, but the fact that we’re in mid-February and the people who work in the league, who have to prepare in advance, are mulling over Joel Embiid potentially coming to market, whether that’s true or not,” Windhorst noted on a recent podcast. “I mean, Josh Harris can come on this podcast and deny it if he wants, but the fact people are talking about it, is not good. It’s a symptom of where they are.”

Embiid, 25, remains one of the most-talented centers in the game. He’s averaging 22.8 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists on 47% shooting from the field this season.

Are Embiid and Simmons a duo that can lead these Sixers to the title? We previously focused on Simmons potentially being on the outs, but rumors from Philly suggest Embiid could be the guy to go. His injury history adds yet another layer to this.

At the very least, it’s something to keep an eye on should the 76ers continue to struggle as the season progresses and fail to go deep into the playoffs.

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