The Philadelphia 76ers are firmly in "win-now" mode. That's been the case for several years, but former NBA MVP Joel Embiid turning 30 earlier this year really hammered the point home. Championship windows don't stay open forever, and given Embiid's lengthy injury history, there's a sense of urgency within the Sixers to finally get it right around Embiid this summer, before it's too late.

As a team aiming to maximize the present, it's unlikely that the Sixers will use their first round pick in the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft. Philly needs players who can contribute immediately, and that's not always easy to find in the middle of the first round. Daryl Morey basically said as much during his season-ending press conference last month.

“Immediate help probably never comes in the draft,” Morey sad at the time. “There’s really only something less than 10 but greater than five players picked in the range we’re picking in that are good in the first year. That said, we don’t really focus on the draft for help now.”

Morey couched those comments by stating that he didn't buy into the narrative that this year's draft is an especially weak one, and that the Sixers would have solid options at No. 16 overall if they decided to keep the pick.

“I do really love 16," Morey said. "The storylines have been that the draft is worse. I don’t see that at all. Actually, I’m very excited about who’s at 16. That said, as you might expect, we have all options on the table: Trade into the future so that we can keep more picks available for future trades. If we do pick, I’m excited about who’s there. We could trade back, pick up a player."

Philadelphia has been putting out feelers ahead of the draft, a league source told ESPN 97.3, but the heavy lifting will likely come in the immediate lead-up to the event. The Sixers will be looking for depth around Embiid and rising star Tyrese Maxey, and flipping a first round pick could help them find it.

The De'Anthony Melton trade from 2022 is a good comparison point for a potential trade this year. The Sixers traded the 23rd overall pick in the '22 draft (and Danny Green) to land Melton, who is a solid two-way role player. The Sixers will likely try to execute a similar move this year, if possible. No. 16 won't land them a star (unless it's part of a bigger package), but it could net them a reliable rotation piece. With basically no players under contract for next season, the Sixers could certainly use some of those.

Every year it seems like the Sixers are pegged as a team that could be active on draft night, and this year should be no different.


Follow Michael Kaskey-Blomain on X @therealmikekb.

More From 97.3 ESPN