Philadelphia 76ers: 5 Trade Targets Who Would Make Sixers Title Contenders
The smart money says that the NBA's March 15 trade deadline will pass without the Philadelphia 76ers making any significant moves. The front office appears to be committed to riding out the season with the current roster, and at 20-9, it's hard to fault their reasoning.
The chemistry that the Sixers have is probably the primary reason for their success this season. Chemistry, however, has also not been enough for the 76ers to solve the enigma that is the Miami Heat.
In order for Philadelphia to compete with the Heat in a seven-game series, they'll probably have to make a major deal to reshuffle their roster. And again, while no trade is likely, that doesn't prevent us from putting on our general manager hat and kicking the tires on a few possible moves. Here's a look at five trade targets who would make the 76ers title contenders this season.
Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks
Last month, there were reports that Philadelphia spoke to the New York Knicks in regards to a possible Amar'e Stoudemire trade. 76ers president Rod Thorn quickly dismissed those rumors, but it's still an intriguing possibility, nonetheless.
New York's primary motivation in dealing Stoudemire would be to rid themselves of his massive contract. After this season, the Knicks are on the hook to their power forward for another three years and $65 million.
If a first-round pick was used as a sweetener, the Knicks might be willing to part ways with Stoudemire in exchange for Elton Brand. Brand has only one season left on his deal (at $18.16 million) and would provide some much-needed veteran leadership for a Knicks team that is firmly on the playoff bubble.
The 29-year-old Stoudemire would give the 76ers their first legitimate low-post presence since Chris Webber. More importantly, he would shore up a front line that has been decimated by injuries for the better part of the past month.
With the emergence of Jeremy Lin, the Knicks may not demand that point guard Jrue Holiday be a part of any deal with Philadelphia. If the 76ers can swing a Stoudemire trade without giving up any of their young talent, they owe it to themselves to explore the possibility.
Chris Kaman, New Orleans Hornets
Shoring up the power forward and center positions should be the primary concern for the 76ers, although the available options are scarce, to say the least.
Chris Kaman is an interesting possibility, and the New Orleans Hornets appear open to trading their 29-year-old center. Two seasons ago, Kaman earned an All-Star berth as he averaged 18.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Of course, the Chris Kaman story can't be told without discussing his well-deserved reputation for being injury-prone. Since 2007, Kaman has only had one season in which he played more than 56 games (2009-10). But when healthy, the former Clipper is a better option than anyone that the 76ers currently have at either the 4 or 5 spots.
A combination of Andres Nocioni and Spencer Hawes could get the deal done for Philadelphia, given the fact that the Hornets have yet to receive a legitimate offer for Kaman's services. Due to the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, the trade couldn't be consummated until March 1 since that's the first day that players who were signed this offseason can be dealt.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
The Stephen Curry/Monta Ellis tandem isn't working out quite like the Golden State Warriors envisioned it, so they may be a willing trade partner over the next month. Ellis is the player whose name was thrown around in trade talks with the 76ers last season, but dealing Curry may make more sense for both teams.
A package of Jrue Holiday and Craig Brackins in return for Curry is a logical swap for both the 76ers and the Warriors. Brackins is more or less a throw-in for salary cap purposes, but Holiday would instantly improve Golden State's defense, and would also be a solid compliment in the backcourt for Ellis.
Acquiring Curry would allow Doug Collins to slide Evan Turner into the starting lineup at the 2-guard spot. Until now, the 76ers have started Jodie Meeks in order to spread the floor for Holiday and Andre Iguodala to operate. With Curry spotting up behind the three-point line, having him and Meeks in the starting lineup would be redundant, thus creating an opportunity for Turner.
As it stands right now, Curry's point guard instincts are more refined than those of Holiday, whose assists have declined drastically from last season. So not only would Philadelphia get an explosive scorer, but they'd also receive a playmaker who should instantly make those around him better.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Trading for Dwight Howard would be the ultimate "go for broke" play for the 76ers. While they have a better (if still unlikely) chance of getting Howard in the offseason if they amnesty Elton Brand, acquiring the Magic center before the trade deadline would immediately vault Philadelphia into title contender status.
Under the terms of the CBA, the salaries of Brand, Nocioni and Holiday match up well in exchange for Howard and Jameer Nelson. However, Orlando probably wouldn't agree to that deal unless Philadelphia threw in a few first-round draft picks.
From Philadelphia's perspective, it's highly unlikely that any deal for Howard gets done without trading Andre Iguodala. And while it would be a bitter pill for many 76ers fans to swallow, the prospect of having the most dominant center in the NBA might be worth it.
Of course, it would only be worth it if Howard chooses to re-sign with the 76ers this summer. Otherwise, the team may be mortgaging its future for a single roll of the dice in this year's postseason.
Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets
As 76ers fans witnessed firsthand, Deron Williams is the one of the few, legitimate "go-to" players in today's NBA. Philadelphia hasn't had such a player on its roster in years, but the team may be able to acquire one from its Atlantic Division rivals.
Unless New Jersey can swing a deal for Orlando's Dwight Howard, Williams doesn't figure to make the trip when the Nets move to Brooklyn this summer. So if the Nets no longer think that they're in the Howard sweepstakes, expect them to move their All-Star point guard in return for some valuable assets.
New Jersey may be willing to make a trade with its neighbor down the turnpike if the 76ers were to include Jrue Holiday in the deal. Philadelphia would have to throw in some additional salaries (Hawes and Nocioni, for starters) and first-round picks in order to make it work, but it isn't completely unrealistic to think that it could happen.
Of course, it makes no sense to trade for Williams unless he agrees not to exercise his opt-out clause this offseason. But with a core of Iguodala, Turner and Young around him, he may be persuaded to stay.
Furthermore, if the 76ers were to make that deal and use the amnesty clause on Elton Brand this summer, it could open the door for Dwight Howard to sign with Philadelphia as a free agent.