A Trade For Every Sixers Player
A cheat-sheet for Team Collaboration.
Mike O’Connor is the best O’Connor in basketball writing. Previously of The Athletic, you can find Mike on Twitter @MOConnor_NBA.
If you ever find yourself wishing that the Sixers would scrap the entire team and start from scratch, you’re in luck. Here, I’ve compiled a list of hypothetical trades that, if all completed, could send each Sixer a one way ticket out of town.
To be clear, I’m not performing this exercise to necessarily build a team out of the players coming back. With each trade, I’m operating under the assumption that the team remains largely the same aside from that individual deal.
What this really is, is an estimation of each player’s trade value at this moment in time and a guess of what the Sixers could get if they decided to trade them during this offseason. Along that line of thinking, most of these deals will involve only one Sixer at a time, so that I can try to isolate what each individual player’s value is. As usual, this is all pure speculation. Now, let’s begin. (shout out to James Beale who did a similar exercise early in the season - Spike)
Sixers get: Nic Batum, Terry Rozier
Hornets get: Tobias Harris, Zhaire Smith, 2023 1st round pick (Top-8 protected), the OKC pick
Yep, that’s right -- the Sixers gave up two first rounders to get Tobias Harris, and in my opinion, it’d take at least two firsts to get off of him.
The idea here for Charlotte is that if they wanted to draft another guard with the No. 3 overall pick, they might be interested in offloading Rozier to avoid overcrowding their backcourt along with Devonte’ Graham. They also have historically struggled to attract free agents, so taking on Harris’ salary is a bit more palatable given that they don’t have plans to contend for big fish free agents any time soon.
For the Sixers, Rozier gives them someone who can at least kinda-sorta create his own shot. And of course, it allows them to get off the dreaded Harris contract. It doesn’t help the Sixers’ cap situation for next season, but the years beyond are significantly better.
Sixers get: Andrew Wiggins
Warriors get: Al Horford
If you go back and read some of my previous articles where I mention potential Al Horford trades, most of them look more appetizing from the Sixers’ end than this one. But as time goes on, I become increasingly pessimistic about the odds of getting a truly useful player in exchange for Horford. The salary cap changes are only going to worsen the market, and the number of teams who are itching to acquire a 34 year old center is nonexistent.
From the Warriors’ end, perhaps they’ve already soured on Wiggins after having him in their building for a few months, and would rather take a shot on Horford. Given that most of the current Western Conference contenders feature prominent big men (Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, Kristaps Porzingis, etc.), perhaps the Warriors could talk themselves into Horford being their ticket to matching up with those teams while maintaining the structure of their small ball lineups. Also of note: Horford is guaranteed a total of $25.6 million less than Wiggins over the next three years.
The Sixers can get their hopes up for Wiggins at least fitting better with this roster and having the potential to be a self-creating wing. For as much as Wiggins is inefficient, his teams have always been considerably better offensively with him on the floor. Also, Wiggins and Joel Embiid have been friends since their Kansas days.
Sixers get: Aaron Holiday, Doug McDermott, No. 54 overall pick
Pistons get: Josh Richardson
From the Pacers’ perspective, they get legitimate two-way production from Richardson, who could rebound after a down year in Philly. Holiday and McDermott are both iffy defenders, and inserting Richardson could help their defense crack top-5 in the league status. McDermott is also on an expiring contract, and Holiday is an undersized combo guard on a roster that’s already chock full of ball handlers.
From the Sixers’ perspective, they take a chance on Holiday achieving an upside of a scoring guard off the bench, and get a player in McDermott who -- get this -- can shoot. McDermott took 10.4 3s per 100 possessions last season and is capable of firing off of movement.
Sixers get: Justin Jackson, No. 31 overall pick
Mavericks get: Mike Scott, No. 36 overall pick, No. 58 overall pick
From the Mavs’ perspective, they get a playable sharpshooter in Scott for minimal cost. For the Sixers, they make a nice jump in the second round, and get a flyer on a young wing in Jackson who is fighting for his NBA life.
Sixers get: Bam Adebayo, Andre Iguodala, Kendrick Nunn, 2023 1st round pick
Heat get: Joel Embiid
In reality, both teams probably say no to this. I can’t imagine the Heat wanting to break up the core of a team that just had an epic finals run, and Embiid means too much to the Sixers’ franchise for them to cut him loose.
The only way this deal could take place is if Embiid and Jimmy Butler willed it to be done. Embiid would have to demand a trade, and Butler would have to pressure Miami’s braintrust into executing it. Neither of those things are going to happen.
Sixers fans will probably kill me for this proposal, but I think it’s a fair assessment of where Embiid’s value is at right now. Adebayo is an absolute stud, and if I were another team, I would be absolutely terrified at the prospect of betting on Embiid’s health and conditioning long term. Also, Adebayo is 3.5 years younger than Embiid.
Sixers get: Zach LaVine, Coby White, Tomas Satoransky, 2021 1st round pick (Top-8 protected)
Bulls get: Ben Simmons
Under new leadership, perhaps Chicago becomes emboldened to cash in some of their chips from their rebuild. Simmons is an upgrade over LaVine both in terms of future upside and current ability. With Lauri Markkanen at center, the Bulls have potential to build the five-out team that Simmons needs.
For the Sixers, this is a meh return for Simmons. They get two shot creators that would fit well on a roster built around Embiid, but their defense takes a considerable toll. White’s future is also extremely uncertain, and the draft pick is far from guaranteed to convey.
Sixers get: Luke Kennard
Blazers get: Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton
Much as it would stink to see the Sixers punt on two exciting and undeveloped young players, Kennard has a much clearer NBA identity, and surprisingly, is the same age as Milton.
Kennard has been held back by injuries, but is a knockdown shooter who has some legitimate playmaking chops. As much as anything else, the Pistons would agree to this trade simply due to health concerns and the fact that Milton and Thybulle each have three years left on their deals as opposed to Kennard, who only has one.
Sixers get: Khem Birch, No. 45 overall pick, 2022 second round pick
Magic get: Furkan Korkmaz
The Magic are desperate for shooting, and the Sixers would get an extremely playable backup center who could fill the void left behind by a potential Horford trade. Korkmaz is both good and likable, but his defense will always make him a liability in the playoffs, and his contract expires after next season.