Old friends Daryl Morey and Sam Presti have done it again. With everyone frantically hitting refresh on Twitter as deals come in fast and loose ahead of the 3pm trade deadline, the Sixers have entered the fray:
Three-way deal with Knicks. Terrance Ferguson to New York in the trade, per sources. https://t.co/NU3JgmUV0k— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
Knicks also send Iggy Brazdeikis to Philadelphia in the three-way deal, per sources.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
Sixers send second round picks in 2025 and 2026 to the Thunder, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
Update: The Sixers are also sending their 2021 second-round pick and Vincent Poirier to New York as part of the deal. Poirier, you seemed like a good guy. Best of luck. This year’s second-round pick will almost certainly be in the high-50’s.
The full Sixers-Thunder-Knicks deal, per league source:— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) March 25, 2021
Philly gets: George Hill, Iggy Brazdeikis
OKC gets: Tony Bradley, Philly's 2nd round picks in 2025 and 2026, and Austin Rivers
Knicks get: Terrance Ferguson, Vincent Poirier, 2021 2nd round pick from Philly
George Hill has long been rumored as a potential trade target for Philadelphia, as the 34-year-old guard was destined to leave the rebuilding Thunder and latch onto a contender at the deadline. He has $10M left on his contract next season, but only $1.28M is guaranteed if Hill is waived on or before June 30, 2021. That option gives the Sixers some flexibility in treating Hill as almost an expiring contract, or keeping him around next year if they like what they see from him over the remainder of the season.
On the court, Hill is a terrific fit for the Sixers. He is a career 38.4 shooter from 3 who can play on or off the ball and defend multiple positions at 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan. Hill is playoff-tested, having made the postseason with five different teams. Even approaching his mid-30s, he was one of the best players for Milwaukee during each of the past two postseasons. Hill’s amorphous game provides Doc Rivers with additional lineup flexibility. He will serve as an valuable floor spacer around Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but can also help alleviate some of the creation problems with the second unit. Shake Milton, that load on your shoulders just got a little lighter.
As for Iggy Brazdeikis, he was the 47th overall pick in the 2019 draft. The 6-foot-6 forward has only appeared in 13 games total across the last two seasons for the Knicks. His inclusion in the deal appears to be purely designed to make the contracts/roster spots match up between the three clubs. Sixers fans, feel free to designate Brazdeikis as the new human victory cigar, if you’d like.
Now, let’s talk about what the Sixers gave up. The second-rounders are likely negligible, although you have to credit Presti in his continued quest to control the entire draft this decade. Terrance Ferguson never acquitted himself well with Sixers fans, either on the court or given his past off-the-court issues.
The headliner of the deal is Tony Bradley, who has emerged as a reliable big man option since arriving from Detroit last offseason in exchange for Zhaire Smith. Bradley has shot 68 percent from the field this season, flashing good positioning on both ends of the court and generally doing plenty of small, helpful things without greatly hurting the team in any one area. Bradley’s presence has been beneficial during the regular season to help spackle over Embiid-related rest days and injury absences.
Ultimately though, I doubt Doc Rivers was ever going to transition from Dwight Howard to Bradley for the 10-to-12 backup center minutes in the postseason. It’s also always possible the team has a stretch big target in mind during the buyout market period. Going from someone who wouldn’t play in the postseason to a guy in Hill who will be a decided upgrade at the guard position is a big win for a Sixers team with championship aspirations.
We’ll see if Daryl Morey has anything else in mind as the trade deadline draws near, but for now, the Sixers’ roster is better suited to make a title run than it was this morning. Plus, nothing major was mortgaged in the future. Even if this is the only move, Sixers fans should be satisfied with this trade deadline.