With the 2022 NBA Draft swiftly approaching, the Sixers have several irons on the fire.
Their big ticket to do list includes working on James Harden’s contract, scouting potential prospects with the no. 23 pick, investigating draft day trade backs, and apparently they’re at least checking the trade market temperature on a few of the team’s vets.
According to a report from Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Multiple league sources have said the team is gauging team’s interest in Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz and Shake Milton, in addition to potential trade partners for Danny Green and the No. 23 pick.
The Sixers are trying to gauge the market and see what they can get for the players and draft pick, one sources said. This approach is part of their effort to compile information and see what deals could work when it’s time to make a trade.”
The nugget about Danny Green and the no. 23 pick echoes a report from The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, so that one may just have legs.
We don’t suspect anything is imminent there, but we do believe the team is exploring the idea of using Green’s $10M salary and their first rounder to land a plug-and-play wing, one who might ultimately amount to a Green (targeting Feb. for return from ACL and LCL surgery) replacement.
Last winter we did hear Harris’ name come up in trade rumors prior to the NBA Trade deadline. Philadelphia may have spoken to teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings about Harris as part of a larger Ben Simmons deal.
The Sixers eventually wanted to scare the Nets that they could trade Harris to a team with cap space like OKC this summer while drumming up max space to make a free agency push for James Harden. That was just enough of a concern for Sean Marks and the Nets that they decided to do business with Philadelphia in Feb. rather than risking Harden leaving them empty handed come July. The ploy worked, but it was also at least a data point that the Sixers were open to moving on from their emotional leader and iron man from Long Island.
“The Sixers would love to acquire a third star to play alongside perennial All-Stars Embiid and Harden. A trade would also allow Harris to be more involved in a team’s game plan. He has been the third or fourth option throughout his Sixers tenure.”
But now that the Thunder have struck a deal with the Denver Nuggets, essentially using their cap space to add draft capital, Daryl Morey and Elton Brand would likely need to find another home for Harris. In their dream scenario they’d love to muster up the space to chase players like Zach LaVine or Bradley Beal. Neither represents the perfect fit or need, however, it’s always good to add an All-Star and then explore wing depth with their MLE or bi-annual exception.
The report notes that Matisse Thybulle, who the team was reluctant to include in the James Harden trade has struggled offensively. The Washington product is eligible for an extension. But whether or not the team would be willing to offer him one (even with his value at an all time low) is a fair question.
The Chicago Bulls possess pick no. 18 in this draft, and have been reportedly interested in Thybulle as well as open for business trade wise generally.
There Inky spot also included an intriguing update on Shake Milton:
“The Sixers have a club option of $1.9 million on Milton for next season. However, there’s a belief around the league that the team won’t pick it up.
If that’s the case, it would make sense to try to package him in a trade in order to get something back in return. The problem is, teams don’t want to trade for a player they believe could be scooped up as an unrestricted free agent on July 1.”
So plenty to chew on for today along with your draft content. We profiled Jaden Hardy today. It is interesting that Pompey mentioned that being on another team might allow Tobias Harris to take on more of a prominent role. He’s been largely relegated to third, fourth, or even fifth banana at times here (when JJ Redick and Jimmy Butler were still around). Harris enjoyed perhaps his best season in 2020-2021, when he nearly made the All-Star team. He worked hard to adapt his game on the fly last season with the addition of James Harden, taking on more of a three-and-D role.
But if the team could find a way to pursue Beal or LaVine, or even a pair of viable two-way players, one would imagine Morey, who is notorious for valuing stars above all (as all GMs should) would seriously consider that option.
The NBA draft is just 8 days away. And the Sixers might look a bit different by June 24.