The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, with James Harden now wearing Sixers’ red, white, and blue. Excitement around the team is at an all-time high, as the Sixers are now a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference. It’s likely that the Harden trade will have a huge factor on the buyout market with the Sixers rocketing up most power rankings.
The Sixers traded three players and only received back two in the Harden deal, leaving an open full-time roster spot for the taking. It’s likely the Sixers will save this spot for a buyout player in the coming weeks/months.
Today we’ll take a brief look at some targets that could fill this spot and help the Sixers patch up some of the holes in the roster. It’s rare that buyout players have a drastic impact, but there are recent examples of players having success from the buyout market; with the Clippers’ Reggie Jackson being one of the most successful stories in recent memory.
This year there are a few names floating around that could be possibly bought out, any of which could help the Sixers in their pursuit of a NBA championship. It’s worth noting that the team has hinted numerous times in targeting a veteran big man, but any of the below players could benefit the team moving forward. Let’s take a look:
Harris was sent to Orlando in the Aaron Gordon trade. Harris doesn’t fit their timeline whatsoever, and is also an expiring contract — which makes it very possible that both sides will look to a buyout in the near future. Harris’ career has been derailed mainly due to injuries, but he’s had a nice bounce-back season with the rebuilding Magic. He’s scoring the ball well and has shot the three-ball at a 38 percent clip, which is the second-best of his career.
Harris is a very capable wing defender that can reliably hit threes, which will make him one of the top names on the NBA buyout market if he does indeed get bought out. The Sixers have some capable wings with Danny Green and Matisse Thybulle. However, it definitely wouldn’t hurt to bring in someone like Harris as he’s extremely playable on both ends of the floor. The Eastern Conference features a multitude of talent on the wing, so having an extra defender around would be beneficial to the team.
Saw some vintage Gary Harris in Denver the other night. A long list of contenders would be interested if he got bought out. pic.twitter.com/9BwVsj5AWY— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) February 16, 2022
Competition will be very high if Harris hits the buyout market, and the Sixers should definitely be calling if/when it happens. He could have a chance to carve out a long-term role with the Sixers.
Augustin is currently team-less, as the Houston Rockets bought him out a few days ago. He has long been a name tied to the Sixers as he’s a perfect fit on paper. He’s a capable and willing shooter that can set up the offense pretty well. There were even a few seasons in Orlando where he was their best option at point guard. While he probably was never best suited for a lead point guard role, he held his own and has been a pretty respectable talent since.
Augustin is now in his own twilight years as he looks to find a new team. The Sixers got massive guard help in the form of Harden, but adding an additional playmaking guard wouldn’t be the worst idea ever.
The only downfall to signing Augustin would be that you couldn’t address needs that may be more prominent with their backup center position looking a bit thin. Augustin also isn’t a lockdown defender by any means, and he could very well get picked on in the postseason. Overall: Augustin isn’t a great option but I also don’t think he’s a terrible one either.
Satoranský has been on the move quite a bit, being featured in the CJ McCollum-to-NOLA deal and eventually being re-routed to San Antonio just a day later. It wasn’t that long ago that Sato was a featured player in the Wizards’ rotation. He’s a capable shooter and a ball handler with good size — what team wouldn’t want that type of player?
Sato’s time with the Pelicans this season was pretty rough to say the least. He fell out of the rotation completely and shot career-lows across the board; 29 percent from the field and 16 percent from three. Yikes.
Still, I find it very hard to believe that he completely fell off within a year or two. He was a legitimately good player in Washington and Chicago. We all know New Orleans’ situation this season hasn’t been the best, and it’s very well that all of their negative factors could’ve played a part in this down year from him. I could very well see him bouncing back similar to what Nic Batum did just a year or two ago. He’s a smart player and has the skills to do so.
Adding an additional ball handler with size would be a pretty solid move in the buyout market and would take even more pressure off of Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton. It’s likely that the Spurs will consider buying Sato out as they drift further away from postseason contention and invest in their younger players.
It’s currently unclear exactly if Houston is legitimately invested in Schröder or if they’re eventually going to buy him out. I think it’s kind of a weird fit considering both of their best young players are on-ball guards, but then again the Rockets are paying John Wall nearly $50 million to chill at home. So who knows!
Assuming he eventually gets bought out, Schröder would undoubtedly be the best player on the buyout market. He had a solid year for the Celtics before getting traded; averaging 14.4 points-per-game on solid efficiency. He’s a very capable scorer and would be a tremendous sixth man for the Sixers if he came here.
In terms of “win-now” moves, Schröder is the perfect example of that. He’s looking to cash out after fumbling the bag last season, and the Sixers (or most contenders out there) wouldn’t have enough cap space to give him what he’s going to be looking for. The only real downside in signing Schröder would be the fact that it wouldn’t be a long-term marriage.
Schröder would be an incredible get on the buyout market if the Sixers are going all-in on trying to win a title this season. The talent and skill is there, and he would have arguably the most impact of any player on the buyout market — assuming he actually gets bought out.
The Sixers have yet to be in any reports about Dragić, so I’ll keep this pretty brief. While age and injuries have certainly got to him, he’s still a playable postseason guard with tons of experience — which would make him a good get.
The real downside to signing Dragić would be that nobody really knows what level of play he’s at anymore. He only played five games in Toronto before agreeing to part ways with them. Again, the Sixers have yet to be mentioned in any legitimate rumors/reports, so it’s looking unlikely that he’ll be coming here. Still, I think he’s worth the phone call if the opportunity presents itself.
Favors might be my personal favorite buyout target. While he’s certainly out of his prime there’s a lot to like about his game and potential fit in Philly. He’s a willing rim protector and does everything that you want out of a modern NBA big; setting screens, running pick-and-rolls, and even hitting a few midrange jumpers along the way. He’s a veteran player now with tons of postseason experience.
Favors would be the perfect big to put alongside Harden, who is a dominant pick-and-roll player. I think he has a lot more left in the tank than Paul Millsap and he’s a safer option than Paul Reed and Charles Bassey — who are still quite young.
It remains to be seen if the Thunder and Favors will negotiate a buyout. He has a player option worth around $10 million this summer, and if he gets bought out it’s unlikely that he’ll get that money back. Favors is coming to the end of his career, so ultimately he’ll be weighing money versus an opportunity to really compete for a NBA title.
Robin Lopez has always been labeled as a solid rotational big man. He’s a big body that’s great to have around the rim and has even expanded his offensive game a bit in recent memory. Sixers fans will remember his unorthodox hook shot that is very effective nonetheless in last year’s series against the Washington Wizards.
It’s likely that Orlando might look to buy out Lopez’s $5 million one-year contract in the coming weeks, as the youth movement is in full effect down south. They have two talented young big men in the form of Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr. It’s likely that they’ll want to see as much as Bamba as possible with his restricted free agency on the horizon. And let’s be honest: This team isn’t looking to win now.
Lopez would provide a veteran big that is simply reliable. He’s one of the better options out there if he does indeed hit the market. The only downside would be possible tension between him and the Sixers’ mascot, Franklin.
Sixers fan favorite Mike Muscala! It’s still unclear if OKC will even look to buy him out, as it seems there’s a strong mutual relationship between both team and player. However he would be a perfect get if he somehow became available.
Muscala has become one of the better stretch bigs found around the league, and he’s shooting 42.9 percent from beyond the arc on nearly four attempts per game. He’s not a defensive stopper compared to some of the other targets I’ve mentioned, but he can hold his own defensively against other bigs. He’s mobile enough to do so.
Muscala’s prior tenure with the Sixers wasn’t the best, as he struggled mightily and was eventually traded to the Clippers in the Tobias Harris deal. A reunion could greatly benefit the Sixers, as they’ve always looked for a reliable stretch big. Even without Simmons, having another knockdown shooter next to James Harden would be beneficial. Gifting Muscala a rotation spot on a contender only seems right, as he is a huge reason Tyrese Maxey is a Sixer.