The Sixers made a quality trade during the 2022 NBA Draft by sending Danny Green and their 23rd overall pick to the Grizzlies for De’Anthony Melton, and they’re not done exploring their trade options yet.
According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Sixers are still interested in pursuing Rockets guard Eric Gordon. “Sources say Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is still trying to acquire Gordon despite being unsuccessful on Thursday night,” per Pompey.
Gordon would certainly help the Sixers. He’s a capable guard defender when engaged, a strong driver who’d add some extra scoring juice attacking downhill, and a high-volume three-point shooter with the kind of quick trigger that would complement the Sixers’ stars when operating off the ball. Gordon’s three-point percentages have been a little up and down year to year, but he’s still shot 36.1 percent from deep on an impressive 8.1 attempts per game over the last six seasons.
However, after the Sixers’ acquired a strong two-way, 6-foot-2 guard in Melton, they have far less need for another smaller guard (Gordon is only 6-foot-3). Philly’s lead guard play is already taken care of with James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, while Melton is their new top option off the bench who can also play alongside Harden and Maxey at times — Melton is long and can play up somewhat above his size, and operates well off the ball with his shooting.
Gordon isn’t as necessary in that mix of guards, while the team’s lack of wing size, defense, rebounding and general versatility remains as more of a concern. Who starts at small forward is still a question — are the Sixers really going to end up keeping Matisse Thybulle and start him, or look elsewhere on the trade/free agent market for another option?
Beyond the matters of roster fit and need, it would be more difficult to pull off a Gordon trade financially now. To take on the 33-year-old Gordon and his $19.5 million salary for next season (he’s also under contract for $20.9 million in 2023-24), the Sixers would need to move one of their large salaries, which would likely mean they’d need to trade Tobias Harris. There’s been plenty of buzz regarding the Sixers’ gauging trade interest in Harris and others, including Thybulle, but there’d still need to be some major moving pieces and potentially multiple other teams involved to make everything work.
So, considering there’s less need for Gordon now and it won’t be as easy to acquire him without having the option of including Danny Green’s $10 million salary in any trades, this acquisition definitely feels less likely (and necessary) than it did before the draft.
Regardless of whether or not something this significant does happen, Daryl Morey and the Sixers certainly seem to be remaining active in pursuing upgrades. Even if we mainly see small free agency signings to address the team’s lacking wing depth, more moves are coming.