While many of you go about your Saturday with your mind’s eye on the possibility of the Philadelphia Eagles knocking off both the Bills and Niners in a single week’s window, it’s Philadelphia 76ers fans who could use a real distraction today.
Having now lost six of their last 10, Nick Nurse’s crew could use an influx of health (they’ve also been without Kelly Oubre Jr., out since Nov. 10 with a rib fracture) and then an influx of talent.
Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey were out Friday. Now the team can only tie Boston in the four-game regular-season series. They’ll need to win one in Beantown and net a better overall record to finish with home court for the playoffs over Boston.
We need to move on. Let’s get to the trade rumor round up.
Michael Scotto with a true Sixers Slop Drop
HoopsHype’s resident scoopsmen, Michael Scotto, has been a reporter to follow for Sixers’ intel lately.
Let’s start with a trade candidate we haven’t looked at quite as thoroughly as some of the other names below.
The first is Brooklyn Nets’ wing Dorian Finney-Smith, (AKA “DFS” or “Doe-Doe” for those who occasionally tune into the awesome Ian Eagle-Sarah Kustok Nets broadcast duo).
In a recent article looking at this season’s top trade candidates, Scotto reported the following:
“NBA executives across the league are also monitoring Brooklyn’s wings, including Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale.
Finney-Smith has previously drawn interest from several playoff-caliber teams, including the Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, and Memphis Grizzlies (before several injuries changed their trajectory this season), among other teams, league sources told HoopsHype.
Given that Finney-Smith is signed through the 2024-25 season before a $15.38 million player option decision for the 2025-26 season, rival executives expect the Nets to continue to have a high asking price worth the equivalent of two first-round picks if they trade him with the hope that the asking price will drop closer to the trade deadline.
A few executives who spoke with HoopsHype believe Brooklyn would want a protected first-round pick for O’Neale, an upcoming unrestricted free agent.”
I would have been really excited about the team landing DFS a couple of seasons ago, following the Dallas Mavericks’ Western Conference Finals run in 2022.
Remember this stuff? He was drilling clutch bombs and helping man the perimeter (and some zone or “junk D”) for one of the best playoff defenses remaining in the second round and Conference Finals not long ago, when the Mavs knocked off the then-reigning Western Conference Champ, Phoenix Suns.
Now one would need to pull up highlights vs. the lowly Bulls to find an interesting reel:
But it’s difficult to determine: how much of his appearing like a somewhat lesser play since Dallas can be attributed to a) a short-lived hot streak that fizzled b) a real decline (he was 28 then, he’s 30 now) c) boredom balling on a non-contender (all big red flags) or d) the theory that maybe without Luka Doncic to set an offense up, he’s no longer in an ideal role in Brooklyn (still, dude’s shooting 45 percent from distance on good volume this year).
That last one d) would not be a red flag because the thinking then from Morey might go: maybe Nurse could provide an ideal offensive situation for him with all of the attention Embiid and Maxey command? Maybe Nurse could scheme up a D that had elements of Jason Kidd’s old trapping gambits that so flummoxed Devin Booker and the Suns?
Hell, isn’t it possible this 76ers team could recreate a bunch of open corner threes for him, while forming an even better defense than the 2022 Mavs (asking DFS to help names like Luka, THJ, Kleber, Dinwiddie, Jalen Brunson or Boban) had? Maybe this could be the ideal spot for Doe-Doe? You can hear me selling myself on the idea if the price is right.
Anyway, my optimism aside, this was a terrific podcast hosted by Derek Bodner and Kyle Neubeck, the Sixers top insiders for PHLY Sports, on the same subject:
In that link above Bodner mentions that Finney-Smith would be a fit, and he might be the most realistic but least interesting name Scotto mentions to become a Sixer due to (theoretical) price. Of course in reality, as we read above, Scotto mentions the (currently) exorbitant ask from Sean Marks of two first-round picks (lol).
DFS is no OG Anonuby on defense (few are) but he’s good and perhaps (will be) much cheaper to acquire in time.
Swapping Marcus Morris Sr. for him, plus a juicy conditional swap or pick might entice Marks, surely.
Royce O’Neale, once acquired by Brooklyn from Utah (using the Sixers’ 2023 pick they snagged in the James Harden-Ben Simmons blockbuster of 2022) could likely be had even more cheaply than Doe-Doe. O’Neale is historically the better shooter, DFS is easily the better defender and athlete. But at least for now it sounds like any suitors will have to wait for the Nets to lower their asking price for any of their wing-heavy core.
Next up in Scotto’s report we’ll look at Pascal Siakam.
But here’s the Scotto Sloppo on Spicy:
“Several teams could make a trade for Siakam, including the Hawks, Kings, 76ers, Pacers, etc. The two-time All-NBA and All-Star player will be looking for a max contract, or as close to it as possible this summer.”
Siakam is really good. He’d make them better. But he’s not a great fit. Whether or not they could make it work despite his being such a poor shooter (32 percent career, 19 percent this year) from a distance gives me pause, when you don’t want to do anything to further muddy up the now chugging Embiid-Maxey two-man game.
I’m picturing his three-ball being off, him losing a willingness to spot up so much for others to work, and then wanting to dribble-drive for flailing elbow post-ups and everyone wondering where to stand when he does. There would likely be elements of Tobias Harris and James Harden’s historical reluctance to simply spot up at times.
Oh, and Pascal and Sixers coach Nick Nurse may not even like each other, so there’s that.
Bodner and Neubeck agreed that OG is probably the best target from the names Scotto links to the 76ers. And I must say, I do agree with them too. I think OG is an imperfect player and not a star, but that he’s a true stud and would be a terrific fit.
Sort of like the late, great sports writer’s Jonathan Tjarks prescient hypothesis for why Mikal Bridges would offer NBA team’s All-Star value with the “mere” 3-and-D archetype, maybe OG could too?
“If Toronto is willing to pay up for Siakam, they’ll keep him,” an NBA executive opined. “I think the same goes for Anunoby, too.”
Then Scotto continues:
“Toronto is concerned about potential teams who could give Anunoby a shorter-term max contract due to the weak free agent market, league sources told HoopsHype. As outlined on The HoopsHype Podcast, the Philadelphia 76ers are one of the potential teams who could give Anunoby a max contract this summer. Philadelphia could also try to trade for Anunoby and re-sign him with Bird Rights while keeping Tobias Harris.”
So this is kinda sorta a similar situation to the one in Brooklyn once upon a time where Harden was on an expiring contract on a team in flux, who didn’t even want to move him.
It took Harden (moping in games a bit before) asking Marks for a trade to Philly specifically to make it happen. And that’s not (yet!) the case with the London native (a career 37.8% three-point shooter draining 40 percent through 16 starts in 2024).
I don’t think the Sixers could feel remotely confident that Masai Ujiri will trade OG. But I’d get the sense Morey and Elton Brand would be over the moon to add the former Hoosier; they’d probably settle for signing him in free agency too. He’s a much better floor-spacer and wing-defender than Siakam.
Finally, it woudn’t be a rumor round up without...(drum roll please) something on Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine!
Sixers not in love with Zach LaVine’s combination of price and performance?
Here’s what Scotto said about Zach, currently toiling in (6-14, a bottom five overall record league-wide) Chicago:
“LaVine – owed $178 million through the 2026-27 season, which includes a player option – has been linked to the 76ers, Lakers, Heat and Kings. The Knicks also called to express exploratory interest in LaVine, league sources told HoopsHype, but his camp was not interested in a trade to New York, as the New York Post reported.”
I won’t spoil much more from the PHLY Sports pod but let’s just say Bodner and Neubeck don’t sound like they think the Sixers are in love with LaVine, so they don’t expect this one to happen.
But I did like the idea the PHLY duo had that if the Sixers were somehow able to land a guy they were excited about (whether that’s an OG or someone else), crucially without parting with all of their remaining assets, it could make landing a lesser wing such as DFS more enticing as a complementary piece in addition.
But maybe now we’re in magical thinking. Morey only has three picks (and some conditional swaps, plus expiring contracts like Robert Covington, Marcus Morris Sr., or “Boom Boom” Nico Batum) to play with before the next NBA Draft.
But with the Feb. 10 NBA Trade Deadline still more than two months away, rival teams will have to begin losing hope for hefty draft-capital trade returns.