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How the Sixers could benefit from a Donovan Mitchell trade

The Sixers might not be able to outbid other suitors for Donovan Mitchell, but they could look to poach someone from Utah’s supporting cast.

NBA: Playoffs-Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz’s offseason fire sale might not be over just yet.

After trading All-Star center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a blockbuster deal at the start of free agency, they are now “showing a willingness to listen on possible trade scenarios” involving Donovan Mitchell, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Jazz were “previously shutting down inquiries” about Mitchell, per Woj, and their “asking price appears to be steep.” But they are “no longer simply dismissing calls on Mitchell,” he added.

Even if the Sixers were interested in Mitchell, it would be difficult for them to outbid other potential suitors. They’d have to include Tobias Harris for salary-matching purposes, and the Jazz would assuredly want Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers’ lone blue-chip prospect.

Utah received four first-round picks (three of which were fully unprotected) and a first-round swap from Minnesota for Gobert, so Harris and Maxey alone likely wouldn’t get a deal done, either. The Sixers already owe their 2023 and 2027 first-round picks to the Brooklyn Nets and 2025 first-rounder to the Oklahoma City Thunder, though, so they’re limited in how much draft compensation they’re even able to send.

Rather than dream up hypothetical Mitchell scenarios, the Sixers should instead turn their attention to the rest of the Jazz’s supporting cast. Because if Utah trades both Gobert and Mitchell this offseason, everyone else on the roster will likely be up for grabs, too.

Bojan Bogdanovic, who’s on a $19.6 million expiring contract, might be a bit outside the Sixers’ price range. They’d have to send out at least $15.56 million in salary to acquire him, which would mean either using Harris’ $37.6 million contract in that deal or sending Furkan Korkmaz ($5 million), Matisse Thybulle ($4.4 million), Georges Niang ($3.5 million) and two of Jaden Springer ($2.2 million), Shake Milton ($2.0 million), Isaiah Joe ($1.8 million), Paul Reed ($1.8 million) or Charles Bassey ($1.6 million).

Jordan Clarkson ($13.3 million) and Patrick Beverley ($13 million) would be far more realistic targets for the Sixers to set their sights on.

Clarkson, who won Sixth Man of the Year with Utah in 2020-21, is a high-volume, low-efficiency bench gunner. He averaged 16.0 points on 41.9 percent shooting, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists this past season, and he shot 31.8 percent on 7.6 three-point attempts per game. He’s also a turnstile on defense, which could make him a liability in the playoffs, but he would add more juice to the Sixers’ offense as another off-the-dribble bucket-getter.

Beverley is almost the polar opposite of Clarkson. He’s more in the P.J. Tucker mold—a gritty, physical defender who thrives at getting under his opponent’s skin. The 33-year-old has been among the best point guards in both block percentage and offensive rebound percentage throughout his 10-year NBA career, according to Cleaning the Glass, and he ranked third on the Timberwolves with 2.4 deflections per game this past season.

The 33-year-old shot only 34.3 percent from deep during his lone year in Minnesota, but he knocked down 39.3 percent of his triples over the preceding six seasons. He also spent five years playing alongside James Harden and under team president Daryl Morey with the Houston Rockets from 2012-13 through 2016-17, and he played for three seasons under Sixers head coach Doc Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Sixers would have to send out at least $10.32 million in salary to acquire Beverley and roughly $10.6 million for Clarkson. Korkmaz and Thybulle alone wouldn’t get them there—they combine to make nearly $9.4 million—but including any one of Springer, Milton, Joe, Reed or Bassey would.

The Sixers also must be mindful of their proximity to the $156.983 million luxury-tax apron if/when they discuss any trades this offseason. Because they used the non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Tucker and the bi-annual exception to sign Danuel House Jr., they aren’t allowed to cross the apron at any point between now and June 30.

After signing Tucker, House and Trevelin Queen at the start of free agency, the Sixers are currently around $36.4 million below the apron. They still have yet to official re-sign James Harden, although he’s reportedly set to take “a $15 million paycut” and sign a two-year deal with a player option in 2023-24, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

If Harden earns around $32 million next season, the Sixers would have roughly $4 million of breathing room under the apron. That would give them just enough space to swing a three-for-one deal for Beverley or Clarkson and fill out their final roster spot with a veteran-minimum signing.

Given the familiarity between Beverley and Harden, Morey and Rivers, don’t be surprised if the Sixers at least inquire about the Jazz’s asking price for him, particularly if they’re ready to blow the rest of their roster to smithereens.

Unless otherwise noted, all stats via NBA.com, PBPStats, Cleaning the Glass or Basketball Reference. All salary information via Spotrac or RealGM.