Right now is a good time to be the Philadelphia 76ers. Their 121-93 MLK Day win over the Houston Rockets sans Jimmy Butler helped push them to 31-17 on the season. They are only a game behind the Indiana Pacers and the third seed.
The surging Sixers could see themselves rise up the Eastern Conference standings in the near future. The team has gone 4-1 over their last five games and 7-3 through the last 10. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have their team heading in the right direction.
Despite their recent success, they will have to gear up for a tough stretch prior to the Feb. 7 NBA Trade Deadline. Games against the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, and Toronto Raptors will serve as a litmus test for this team over the next couple of weeks. The good news for Philadelphia is that if they feel a trade for the right players could shift the tide in their favor and help them make their way through the East come playoff time, by no means are they short of options.
Here are a few trade scenarios for the 76ers as the approach the deadline should they choose to make a move.
5. Philadelphia Makes a Big Deal with Memphis
Philadelphia receives: Garrett Temple, JaMychal Green, Omri Casspi
Memphis receives: Wilson Chandler, Furkan Korkmaz, Justin Patton, 2019 second round pick – Philadelphia, 2020 second round pick – Philadelphia
This would be a big roster shake up, but it would allow Philly to do some serious personnel upgrading without getting rid of key players or assets. They would get three players who can shoot and spread the floor as well as provide a little defense.
JaMychal Green would be a perfect big to slot in next to Embiid, shooting 39.3 percent from three-point range this season. Casspi would be the perfect ace in the hole wing defender that Brett Brown has been looking for and Temple would bring just a little extra firepower off the bench.
This deal would prevent the Sixers from taking on long-term money in order to retain some flexibility for the upcoming offseason. Korkmaz, who has been less than thrilled with his role most of the season, doesn’t seem to be in Philly’s future plans, making now the time to trade him for something of value in return. Memphis would be able to retrieve a few second-round picks, as well, after spending high on the Justin Holiday deal that didn’t quite put them back on track as they hoped.
4. Philly and Cleveland Team Up for a Trade
Philadelphia receives: Rodney Hood
Cleveland receives: Justin Patton, 2019 second round pick – Chicago
If Elton Brand is looking to add to the team without messing around with what is working right now, this could be the deal they pursue. Rodney Hood wouldn’t add as much on the defensive end as Philadelphia would like, but would definitely give them the possibility to run more shooting heavy lineups like they utilized last season. Hood could be a perfect player to trot out with a Simmons-led second unit.
Hood’s future with Cleveland beyond this season is uncertain. The Cavs are committed to the tank and could use all the assets they can get their hands on. Patton is currently out right now, but could return just in time to be dealt before ever playing a minute for the 76ers. This low risk move wouldn’t move the needle a ton for Philadelphia, but any depth beyond what they have currently is a plus.
3. The 76ers Get a Solid Wing from Phoenix
Philadelphia receives: T.J. Warren
Phoenix receives: Markelle Fultz
Few players this season have flown under the radar despite putting up numbers the way T.J. Warren has. However, that’s what happens when you play for the Phoenix Suns.
Warren, a career 49.7 percent shooter from the field, has always found his shot, but it’s his perimeter shooting that is shocking this season. Putting in 1.8 three’s per game, Warren is shooting an uncharacteristic 42.8 percent from deep through 42 games so far. There are obviously parts of his game that would keep him from being an ideal fit in Philly, such as his lack of defense or his need to have the ball in his hands. However, the potential of him being a floor spacing player who can help score, possibly even off the bench at times, could be too tantalizing to pass up.
For the Suns, a surplus of wings like Kelly Oubre Jr., Josh Jackson, and Mikal Bridges makes it easy to let go of Warren, especially when they are in such a desperate need of a point guard. The possibility of adding a young point guard without having to give up any assets of their own could be enough to get them to pull the trigger. This would also allow Philly to get something in return for the former first overall pick.
With Warren under contract for a few more years after this season, they could always look to move on from him if the experiment didn’t pan out.
2. The Atlanta Division Makes a Trade Within Itself
Philadelphia receives: Tim Hardaway Jr., Noah Vonleh
New York receives: Markelle Fultz, Mike Muscala, Justin Patton
In terms of adding talent to the roster, this could be a home run for Philadelphia. The New York Knicks are looking to find a way to clear salary cap space for the upcoming offseason in hopes of landing star free agents. Tim Hardaway Jr. is currently the biggest road block for the Knicks making as much room as they can.
Despite his great play this season, they would likely be willing to part with him in exchange for expiring contacts and a chance on Fultz.
Rumors have already linked Vonleh and Philadelphia, which would provide the Sixers with big man that can stretch the floor. Hardaway could slot into a sixth man role with the team and would be a perfect surge of scoring coming off the bench.
1. The 76ers Make a Move for Another Star
Philadelphia receives: Kevin Love, Channing Frye
Cleveland receives: Markelle Fultz, Wilson Chandler, 2019 first round pick – Philadelphia, 2019 second round pick – Chicago
This could be the best trade in terms of bringing back star power. Kevin Love is set to be out for at least a little longer and could possibly not make his return to the court until around the All-Star break. However, this would undoubtedly be a move to help Philly come playoff time.
A lineup featuring Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love, and J.J. Redick would be the most stacked starting lineup in the Eastern Conference. Love would also be a great fit alongside Embiid, with the ability to stretch the floor and still have an impact on the team’s rebounding.
The inclusion of Fultz in the deal, who would make sense for the rebuilding Cavs, could prevent the Sixers from having to package the deal with multiple first round picks. It would also give Cleveland cap flexibility moving forward.
The deal makes sense for both sides, but with Love unable to be dealt until Jan. 23, they would have to act quickly to get a deal done.