There was always a solid chance the Sixers would trade their first-round pick in this year’s NBA Draft, and the latest report we’ve received has only confirmed that as draft day draws closer.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor has added a note in his latest mock draft that the Sixers are looking into trades including this year’s first-rounder and Danny Green:
The Sixers are exploring trades involving this pick and Danny Green, according to sources. While Green was an important two-way wing for the Sixers, he tore both the ACL and LCL in his left knee in May and now he has an expiring $10 million contract. If they end trading the pick, I’d imagine a raw, high-upside player like [Blake] Wesley would have wide appeal. If the Sixers keep it, taking a swing could pay off since they don’t have a first again until 2024 after the Nets deferred this year’s pick to take Philly’s 2023 selection instead. That’s a bet that the Sixers will be worse.
While trying to build a contender around Joel Embiid and James Harden, Daryl Morey was always going to explore trade options in this year’s draft. This particular foundation for a deal — their first-round pick plus Green/his $10 million salary — being mentioned is no surprise. If Morey can find a veteran upgrade, the Sixers could well make a move on draft night.
Green has been a valuable part of the Sixers over the last two seasons, providing a highly respected voice off the court partnered with high-volume shooting and solid team defense. His performance slipped a little during the 2021-22 regular season (primarily his defense and athleticism), but he still came up with some of his best play in the postseason. His off-ball movement and quick-trigger shooting in particular make him a seamless offensive fit with Embiid and Harden.
However, now that Green is turning 35 later this month and will be missing most (if not all) of next season after suffering an ACL and LCL tear in the playoffs, unfortunately it’s not surprising that the Sixers may consider moving him. Their wing depth is seriously lacking as is. With Green out in recovery and owed $10 million for next season, the Sixers could use someone who’s available to help when their 2022-23 campaign begins.
If a good enough trade isn’t on the table for their first-round pick, though, the Sixers could clearly still benefit from keeping the 23rd overall selection. Adding wing depth and players on cheap contracts is still key for the Sixers with the stars they have on large salaries, and there are several talented wing prospects who could be available in their range of the draft. The LB team has been breaking down some of these possible targets, such as Jalen Williams, Tari Eason (if he falls), Wendell Moore Jr., and Kendall Brown.
Whether the Sixers are focused on making a trade or actually using their first-round pick, we’ll be sure to keep you informed with all the latest updates as the draft approaches.