The Sixers are a growing team with some of the greatest youth the league has to offer. With two homegrown stars, Philadelphia is quickly becoming an attractive destination for free agents and players who want to be traded. Even with the team striking out in its first offseason of contention and failing to get a bonafide star, there is still reason for optimism. Both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are just scratching the surface of what they can do, and that is something a lot of other teams around the league can’t fall back on. Good players will want to play with good players, and the Sixers have two that are going to be hot commodities for quite some time.
Early on in the season it is becoming obvious that the Sixers are missing an important role on the team, an off guard who can shoot and create with and without the ball. The hope is that Markelle Fultz can get there, but playing next to Ben Simmons just hasn’t felt right. I am a strong proponent of giving Fultz the role of primary ball handler for the second unit, but Brett Brown is adamant on forcing a Simmons-Fultz pairing to work in the starting lineup. Right now with Fultz in the starting lineup the team can be very one dimensional, but bring in a player who is well versed in what the Sixers want and all of a sudden, this starting lineup is one of the best in the NBA.
Some names like Jimmy Butler have been thrown around, and maybe even the occasional whisper of Bradley Beal potentially being an option, but regardless of the player the Sixers should be active in the market for a proven player. The entire mantra of the team for so long has been to wait around and see if the youth pans out, but now with enough talent to go get someone who has already made a name for themselves, they should no longer sit back. Trading players that the team has built the franchise around to get a big name is going to hurt, but that is what winning teams do.
While many will look to Jimmy Butler to give the Sixers that boost to get past teams like the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors, there are some concerns. Butler is on the final year of his contract, so unless he is guaranteed to sign an extension, the team could be giving up major assets for a rental player. His newsworthy outbursts with the Timberwolves also make one wonder if there would be a personality clash with the larger than life Joel Embiid. Butler is without a doubt a star in the NBA, but he may not be the star that is right for the Sixers. If the team is willing to give up a strong package in order to take the next step, the perfect fit would be someone who already plays in the Eastern Conference.
Bradley Beal is off to another solid start for the Washington Wizards, but the team has struggled regardless. Whether he is officially on the trade block or not, the Sixers should look into bringing in a player that would fill the void that they have had for almost two years now. A lethal shooter from outside who can also create with and without the ball in his hands, Beal would become the perfect guard to pair with Ben Simmons, masking his deficiencies.
A deal would not come cheap, as a package starting with Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric and a first round pick would lay the groundwork. To straighten out the financial side of the deal the Sixers can include Jerryd Bayless and disgruntled shooting guard Furkan Korkmaz to make the deal complete. Obviously this is all of hypothetical, but a deal with these pieces involved is one that could match any other around the league.
Now with a star in the mix, a few changes would have to be made to the rest of the roster in regards to positions and playing time. The two opening spots left by Fultz and Saric would be filled by Beal and JJ Redick who would be returning to the starting lineup. The new starting lineup of Beal-Redick-Covington-Simmons-Embiid is one that has the chance to be a force on offense. The starting lineup isn’t the only thing to be affected, as both T.J. McConnell and Landry Shamet would focal points of the second unit, stepping up into every game roles even more so than they already are.
Giving up a large package for a star player is going to hurt, but if the Sixers want to become more than just a fun team who makes the playoffs but can’t make any true progress, some changes may eventually have to be made. Winning games should be at the forefront of the team’s mind, and whether it is a trade for Beal, Butler or someone else, a non-homegrown star player should eventually be wearing a Sixers uniform.