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Sixers Trade Deadline Primer: Targets #60-41

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The NBA Trade Deadline is just six days away.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers-Press Conference Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Well, here we are. The NBA Trade Deadline is coming in less than a week, and we’ve already seen utter chaos unfolding. Just in the last week, Anthony Davis requested a trade and Kristaps Porzingis was moved to Dallas.

And now, our attention turns to the Sixers, who have a bench to improve and expectations to fulfill. Over the next three days, we will be rolling out an article per day, each of which providing 20 players the Sixers could acquire.

But before we get into the trade targets themselves, let’s evaluate what Elton Brand and company are actually capable of doing...

The Assets

Brace for an obvious statement: when you want to acquire assets of value, you must also be willing to part with assets of value. So here are the assets most likely to be sent away in a trade:

  • Sixers’ 2019 first-round pick, Chicago’s 2019 second-round pick

The Sixers traded the 39th pick in last summer’s draft to the Lakers for Chicago’s 2019 second-rounder. And it makes them much more flexible going into this deadline, because that Bulls pick will almost certainly be somewhere in the 31-34 range, effectively serving as a second late-first round pick. They could either deal this Chicago pick to a team that values its position at the very front of round two, or even deal their own first-round pick if they find a player(s) worth giving it up for, knowing that this Bulls pick will likely be only a small handful of picks behind it.

  • Miami’s 2021 first-round pick

I find it fairly unlikely that the Sixers consider moving this pick at the deadline. However, I do strongly recommend reading what my colleague Justin Carter wrote about the true value of the pick.

  • Other second-round picks

The Sixers also own the following future second-round picks: more favorable of Sacramento and Milwaukee’s 2019 second-rounders, Dallas’ 2020 second-round pick, Denver’s 2021 second-round pick, Detroit’s 2021 second-round pick, New York’s 2021 second-round pick, Detroit’s 2023 second-round pick. They also still have all of their own second-round picks, except for in 2022.

Having so many second-round picks, let alone a decent amount of potentially valuable ones, could be significant for the Sixers. While they lack value in terms of young players, they can potentially make up for it in draft compensation.

  • Furkan Korkmaz ($1.7M salary), Justin Patton ($2.6M salary)

Korkmaz is an interesting case, because while he has enough tools to likely be considered a worthwhile project for at least a few teams, he’s an unrestricted free agent after this season, so even if he proves to be promising, the team that trades for him may not even be able to get him back.

While Patton’s value strictly as a player may be zero, his $2.6M salary could be very useful. He can be salary filler in a deal for a contributor who doesn't make a ton of money, especially if packaged with Korkmaz.

  • Mike Muscala ($5M salary)

Muscala is an established member of the Sixers’ rotation, so I can’t see them moving him unless they can package him with a pick or two for somebody who they consider to be a significant upgrade.

  • Markelle Fultz ($8.3M salary)

And this is where things get tricky...

How the Sixers (and the rest of the league) value Fultz remains to be seen. Some may consider him a lost cause that is now just not worth consideration, there are likely at least a few rebuilding teams that would have some level of interest in bringing him into the fold. However, I would be somewhat surprised at this point if he were traded, just because his actual value is so difficult to gauge.

One thing to consider, though: his salary being as substantial as it is could be significant if the Sixers have interest in a guy with a similar cap hit. If they were to pursue a player in the $7M-$10M range, giving up Fultz is by far the easiest way to match salary.

  • Wilson Chandler ($12.8M salary)

The only way I can see Chandler being moved is if the Sixers elect to take a big swing — he could theoretically be packaged with Fultz and a pick or two for some player with a massive salary in the $20M range. But that seems rather unlikely as it stands now.

The situation the Sixers are in with their assets is clear. For what they lack in terms of valuable players, they will look to make up for with their nearly unmatched collection of draft picks, specifically in the second round.

A Few Trade Restrictions

The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement is incredibly complex, with hundreds and maybe thousands of obscure rules, all to prevent loopholes as effectively as possible. And because of these rules, there are some restrictions that the Sixers must abide by:

(Note: massive thanks to Larry Coon and his invaluable NBA Salary Cap FAQ for helping me sort through some very complex rules.)

  • Due to their current statuses as soon-to-be Early Bird free agents, JJ Redick and Amir Johnson can not be traded without their approval.
  • Mike Muscala can not be traded to the Atlanta Hawks.
  • Wilson Chandler can not be traded to the Denver Nuggets.
  • Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton can not be traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
  • The Sixers can not trade for Justin Anderson, Timothe Luwawu-Cabbarot, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, or Jerryd Bayless.

And now with these details out of the way, let’s begin.

#60-#57: Common Idea, But Not The Right Call

#60: Isaiah Thomas, Guard, Denver Nuggets

Contract: one year, $1.5M

Where He’d Help: shot creation

The Nuggets are likely to shop Thomas, whose minimum salary makes him easily movable. They have seen an emergence from backup point guard Monte Morris, leaving no clear role for Thomas once he is healthy. And he makes some theoretical sense on the Sixers: their desire for added shot creation is well-documented, and even if he has seen a drop-off in production, he can provide some value as a playmaker. But the bigger issue for the Sixers at this position is defense, not creating, and anyone who has seen Thomas knows he will not be helping the Sixers defensively

#59: Jeff Green, Wing, Washington Wizards

Contract: one year, $1.5M

Where He’d Help: shooting, athleticism

Jeff Green might be the most confusing player in the NBA. He has a great frame, is an impressive athlete, and has all of the tools to seem like a star. And for these reasons, it’s understandable why some Sixers fans want him. Yet every single year, his teams are worse off with him than without him. It’s for the best to stay clear here.

#58: Wayne Ellington, Guard/Wing, Miami Heat

Contract: one year, $6.2M

Where He’d Help: shooting

Ellington, a Southeastern Pennsylvania native, has long been a player who was a good theoretical fit on the Sixers. I’ve wanted him many times in the past. But the ship has sailed, and it’s because of Landry Shamet. Shamet isn’t a better player than Ellington, but with a team that has such a significant lack of depth, using assets on what will be a minor upgrade in the rotation would not be wise.

#57: Justin Holiday, Guard/Wing, Memphis Grizzlies

Contract: one year, $4.3M

Where He’d Help: perimeter defense

Holiday, once briefly a Sixer, was dealt to Memphis for two second-round picks last month, and many were up in arms about the Sixers not topping the offer. But it seems they dodged a bullet: in Memphis, Holiday is shooting 29 percent from the field and 23 percent from beyond the arc. Even if he can be acquired for a minuscule price, it’s hard to imagine him being of any help right now.

#56-#53: Make More Sense As Buyout Guys

#56: Channing Frye, Big, Cleveland Cavaliers

Contract: one year, $1.5M

Where He’d Help: shooting

This should be viewed as a last-ditch effort if the Sixers fail to capitalize on acquiring any other big-men, and it’s certainly an outside-the-box idea. Frye is a seven-foot shooting specialist, but it’s worth considering signing him if he is bought out and there is an empty roster spot available. It would be a fascinating experiment to play him at center next to Ben Simmons, live with the fact that you’re going to get hurt defensively, and try to just blitz teams on offense by running and shooting threes.

#55: Robin Lopez, Big, Chicago Bulls

Contract: one year, $14.3M

Where He’d Help: rebounding, rim protection

Lopez is a guy many have been clamoring for, but I’d hold my breath on it: reports have made it sound that he is already intent on going to Golden State. And even forgetting that fact, he simply has been bad this year. So as fun as RoLo’s antics may be, this almost definitely will not, and should not, happen.

#54: Alec Burks, Wing, Cleveland Cavaliers

Contract: one year, $11.5M

Where He’d Help: scoring

Burks, traded to the Cavs from Utah for Kyle Korver a few months ago, is a guy the Sixers should offer a deal to if Cleveland buys him out. He can be a valuable contributor as a wing capable of handling the ball and getting to the rim.

#53: Wesley Matthews, Wing, New York Knicks

Contract: one year, $18.6M

Where He’d Help: shooting, wing defense

Matthews, just acquired by the Knicks as part of the Porzingis deal, is sure to be a guy who New York will look to flip within the next week. But if they can’t do what will be made tough by his massive salary, it’s expected that he’ll be bought out. If so, even as a flawed player, he may be the best potential Sixer to hit the buyout market this season. He is far from great, but is at the very least a fine shooter and capable defender. If he becomes a free agent, the Sixers should pounce.

#52-#45: Young Flyers

#52: Dragan Bender, Big, Phoenix Suns

Contract: one year, $4.6M

Where He’d Help: spacing

Bender will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after his team option was declined, and I honestly don’t see this as a fit. He has shown flashes of being the big-man who can space the floor and be a versatile defender that Phoenix was hoping for when they picked him fourth overall in 2016, but I just can’t see the Sixers deciding that now is the time to take on a project like Bender.

#51: Frank Kaminsky, Big, Charlotte Hornets

Contract: one year, $3.6M

Where He’d Help: shooting

Charlotte is reportedly eager to move Kaminsky, who has fallen out of their rotation. For the Sixers, he could potentially be someone brought in if Mike Muscala is traded elsewhere. He provides some value in that he can play a bit of center is a legitimate threat from behind the three-point line.

#50: Stanley Johnson, Wing, Detroit Pistons

Contract: one year, $3.9M

Where He’d Help: wing defense

“...but man, if he can just figure out the jumpshot,” I have said about Stanley Johnson approximately 50 times in my life. Johnson, a disappointment of a lottery pick, can be a useful bench wing thanks to his defense and athleticism. But his frustrating lack of a jumper will always leave you wanting more.

#49: Rodney Hood, Wing, Cleveland Cavaliers

Contract: one year, $3.4M

Where He’d Help: shooting

Hood, who has a no-trade clause for the same reason Redick and others do, would be likely to waive it to go from the league-worst Cavaliers to a contending team, I would imagine. Hood would be at the very least a good shooter on the wing coming off the bench. He is not a player you can rely on, though, with a career full of inconsistency.

#48: Bobby Portis, Big, Chicago Bulls

Contract: one year, $2.4M

Where He’d Help: shooting, rebounding

Portis would be an interesting trade target if the Bulls are willing to move him for cheap, which given their abundance of young bigs, is possible. He would be the type of stretch four that the Sixers are apparently coveting.

#47: Trey Lyles, Big, Denver Nuggets

Contract: one year, $3.3M

Where He’d Help: shooting

Another young option as a stretch four, Lyles will be a restricted free agent this year. While Denver is very good and should not be selling, they have so many contributors that it’s possible that they are willing to move one for the right price.

#46: Frank Ntilikina, Guard, New York Knicks

Contract: three years, $15.1M (third year is team option)

Where He’d Help: perimeter defense

Make no mistake, the Sixers should go into this week with the intention of making moves designed to improve this year’s team. But Ntilikina is a worthy player to take a multi-year gamble on. Because if he ends up becoming what many have presumed he would, his fit with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid is seamless. He has the potential to be an all-world defender, and is better suited playing off the ball. He’s still raw with some work to do, but if the Knicks are ready to shake things up some more, the Sixers should call about Frankie Smokes.

#45: Tyus Jones, Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves

Contract: one year, $2.4M

Where He’d Help: ball-handling, playmaking

The Wolves went from having too many point guards a few weeks ago to Jerryd Bayless logging 40+ minutes on a nightly basis. Yes, that Jerryd Bayless. But when healthy, the logjam at point guard does exist. And the Sixers should be one of many teams calling about Jones, a perpetually underrated and underutilized young player.

#44-#41: High-Priced Players

#44: Kent Bazemore, Wing, Atlanta Hawks

Contract: two years, $37.3M (second year is a player option)

Where He’d Help: wing defense, shooting

While Bazemore would absolutely be of significant help to this team, his massive cap figure that carries into next season makes him not the right target. The Sixers should not take on such a significant amount of future money unless they’re getting a great player and not just a good one.

#43: Otto Porter Jr., Wing, Washington Wizards

Contract: three years, $87.1M (third year is a player option)

Where He’d Help: shooting, shot creation, wing defense

Despite having a weird season and an intimidating cap hit, don’t get it twisted: Otto Porter Jr. is a great player who would improve the Sixers by a lot. His presence as the prototypical three-and-D wing as well as the shot creation he is capable of providing would be of massive importance. But, that cap hit over the next three seasons does exist, and it’s something that can make a team fearful. The Sixers have to decide if they’re willing to take themselves out of the running for any big free agents by trading for Otto.

#42: Mike Conley, Guard, Memphis Grizzlies

Contract: three years, $97.5M (third year is a player option)

Where He’d Help: playmaking, ball-handling, scoring

While being a very different player, the pros and cons of acquiring Conley are similar to Porter Jr. If the Sixers prefer a guard to a wing, they could call Memphis before Washington. But if a high-priced guard is what they want, there’s another call to be made...

#41: Jrue Holiday, Guard, New Orleans Pelicans

Contract: four years, $105.8M (fourth year is a player option)

Where He’d Help: perimeter defense, wing defense, ball-handling, shot creation, scoring

There’s no indication that New Orleans is eager to move Holiday, but with their current situation, it’s impossible to imagine they won’t consider it. And the Sixers should be all over this — bringing back Jrue would lift the current and future ceiling of this team a ton. He is the perfect fit next to Simmons as a combo-guard capable of playing with and without the ball, and is also an elite defender against multiple positions. The Sixers may simply not have the assets necessary to get this done, but they should make the strongest effort they can.


That’s it for part one, stay tuned for parts two and three coming soon!