While many of you are still trying to process the Sixers bringing Montrezl Harrell back on a one-year deal, there was a new report out of Chicago that’s worth reading. Bulls Insider K.C. Johnson, of NBC Sports Chicago reported that there were preliminary trade talks between the Sixers and Bulls on Zach LaVine.
As the Sixers navigate the James Harden trade request, it’s beginning to sound more and more like striking a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, Harden’s preferred landing spot, may not be simple.
Clips’ wing Terance Mann figures to be the most desirable rotation player the Sixers could get back in that deal, but the Clips have thus far sounded reluctant to part with any “real stuff.”
So Morey may be checking the temperature on LaVine as well.
“The LaVine trade chatter isn’t going away. In fact, league sources said that LaVine has landed in preliminary conversations with both the Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers, who are working with James Harden and Damian Lillard, respectively, to find them new homes.”
The respective Harden and Damian Lillard situations seem to have the league on pause for a bit. Either one changing teams could potentially spark some dominos for other moves to be made around the league.
One might guess that Chicago is at least considering offloading LaVine’s major contract by playing facilitator in the grand (potentially multi-team) Lillard sweepstakes; albeit not at the bargain basement prices we saw Bradley Beal and Jordan Poole go for.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard this LaVine-to-Philly idea floated. Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer mentioned the Sixers and Bulls as potential trade partners late last month.
Per Fischer, noting the Sixers will not feel compelled to only work with Los Angeles on a Harden deal:
“Chicago would be one potential trade partner to keep in mind, as the Bulls have made Zach LaVine available in conversations this offseason, sources said, and could also send an All-Star such as DeMar DeRozan back to Philadelphia. But there will be many avenues the Sixers explore before finalizing a Harden trade.”
Either Harden or Tobias Harris could work in terms of salary matching for LaVine, who recently became trade eligible after signing a five-year $215M supermax one summer ago. While it’s Harden who wants a trade, moving Harris instead might give the Sixers their best chance of winning.
According to Kyle Nuebeck, of Philly Voice, reacting to the Johnson report:
“....according to sources familiar with the situation, the Sixers and Bulls (as Johnson alludes to in his story) only really had check-in convos prior to the draft, with nothing evolving beyond that point.”
LaVine is under contract for three years with a $49M option for the 2026-2027 season, so acquiring the former slam-dunk champ would mostly take Philadelphia out of the running to become big time free agent players next summer. But it might get them back on track to compete with the teams atop the Eastern Conference.
Maybe there is a three-way deal to be struck sending Harden to L.A. and LaVine to Philadelphia?