NBA: 4 Contenders that will be colossal failures in 2023-24

Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports) /
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James Harden
James Harden (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) /

Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers were close to finally breaking through to the Eastern Conference Finals last season before they fell apart against the Boston Celtics. Heading into the offseason, the plan had to be bringing back the core of their roster while making a couple of additions here and there. That’s when James Harden completely blew that idea up. When Free Agency opened, Harden opted into the final year of his contract with the team and demanded a trade.

Less than a month before the start of training camp, the Sixers and Harden have found middle ground on a potential trade and it appears the team will be taking this chaotic storyline into the start of the season. Even in a best-case scenario where the Sixers get some value for Harden, there’s not a realistic scenario where they’re a better team than they were last season.

That’s bad news for a player like Joel Embiid. The former NBA MVP is coming off the best season of his career to date and is essentially entering the new season with virtually zero chance to win a title. Short of Harden having a complete change of heart, this season is going to be remembered as an epic failure for the Sixers.