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Sixers former ‘leading target’ Jarred Vanderbilt lands with LeBron James, Lakers in blockbuster

Welp, a top target of the Philadelphia 76ers goes to L.A. in a Russell Westbrook, D’Angelo Russel and Mike Conley shake up

Dallas Mavericks v Utah Jazz Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

On Wednesday, with under 24 hours to go before the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline, Sixers fans hoping for a certain combo big to buttress this team’s ongoing backup five problem got a dose of ice water.

Sixers potential trade target Jarred Vanderbilt is heading to the Los Angeles Lakers. Here’s the final three-team blockbuster between the Lakers, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Utah Jazz:

It stared with rumors from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that D’Angelo Russell might be heading back to the team that drafted him third overall in 2015:

And things got substantially more concrete with a few updates from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Here’s where we heard Jarred Vanderbilt’s name drop, specifically:

Bummer. The news hit pause as we wondered what else was coming. Was Daryl Morey on the line asking Lakers’ GM Rob Pelinka if he’d re-rout The Vandolorian to Philadelphia?

Remember, Morey was in on Vanderbilt.

Per Fischer, last weekend:

“Vanderbilt’s name has also appeared amid the trade deadline conversation surrounding reserve big men, most notably with the Philadelphia 76ers, sources told Yahoo Sports. While teams like the Indiana Pacers have viewed the 6-foot-9 Vanderbilt as an attractive option at power forward, Vanderbilt has been described by league personnel as a leading target in Philadelphia’s quest to fortify its frontcourt reserves behind Joel Embiid.

The backup center market may end up being the segment of trade-deadline activity that features the most action. In addition, the Sixers, Clippers, Blazers, Nuggets, Nets, Celtics, Raptors and Kings have been mentioned by league executives as holding differing degrees of interest to bolster their center rotations.”

And according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, things may have advanced a bit by Wednesday:

“There’s a belief that the shooting guard [Thybulle] will be moved before Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline as the team positions itself to win this season’s NBA title. The Sixers (34-18), who are third in the Eastern Conference, could replace him with a suitable backup center to help push the squad to a deep postseason run.

Multiple sources insist Utah Jazz post player Jarred Vanderbilt is a leading target in the Sixers’ quest to fortify frontcourt depth behind All-Star center Joel Embiid. The 6-foot-9 Vanderbilt is a power forward but has the ability to defend all three frontcourt positions. The Sixers are also in the market for a wing, so Vanderbilt could check two boxes for them.”

But alas, it wasn’t to be. The Lakers have finally hit eject on the ill-fated Russell Westbrook experiment. After months and months of countless speculation they might target players like Kyrie Irving, or Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, they go back to where they started.

The Lakers lost more games over a five-year span than any team in the NBA. That 2013-2018 stretch even included Sam Hinkie’s process. That’s how they were able to acquire top picks like Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, another lottery pick, and more, eventually selling off the bulk of that haul for one Anthony Davis.

As roundabout and bungling as it all was, it was good enough for a championship and banners fly forever. It’s hard to see D-Lo and the other new additions righting this shaky ship. But it should be better than what they had before.

Too bad they couldn’t go get Kyle Kuzma, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso back. Those guys sure helped LeBron more than Russ.

For Philadelphia, they’ll now to turn to the next man up on their mystery list. Our Paul Hudrick suggested a few discount wings as well as a few backup fives they might eye next.

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