Are we headed for a summer filled with Joel Embiid trade speculation?

The Philadelphia 76ers have been a (relative) disappointment this season, sitting at 33-21 and in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with the playoffs fast approaching. Yes, the Sixers still are very good — they only have lost two home games — but they look primed for an early playoff exit despite entering the season with championship expectations.

Should Philly go one-and-done in the playoffs, many believe the franchise could seek to trade either Embiid or Ben Simmons. That baseless speculation gained some credibility Monday when ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suggested NBA teams are preparing for Embiid to land on the trade block.

“I got league executives talking to me,” Windhorst said. “One of the conversations that people are starting to have in the league is, ‘Will they move Embiid? What’s the price? Where would he go?

“I’m not going to get into that, but my point is people are talking about that.”

You can follow the link in the tweet below to listen to the latest episode of Windhorst’s “Big-time Bucket Getter” podcast. Conversation about the 76ers dominates the beginning of the episode, with the bit about Embiid occurring around the 16-minute mark.

That brings us to Monday night, when Embiid and Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler engaged in an Instagram back-and-forth that is sure to raise some eyebrows.

Take a look:

There really is nothing like NBA drama.

Whether Embiid or Simmons eventually get traded remains to be seen. But, at this point, it seems inevitable that rumors involving the two stars will dominate headlines during the offseason.

As Ray Arnold once famously said, “Hold on to your butts.”

Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images