5 Trades the Philadelphia 76ers Should Already Be Thinking About
So what now?
That’s the question many Sixers fans are asking, as the harsh reality of Andrew Bynum’s prognosis begins to sink in. With each passing ominous update, which lately seems to come with all the anticipation of a root canal, the likelihood of Philly relying on its marquee acquisition any time soon – if at all – fades like Spencer Hawes after a contract extension.
And just like that, although we’re staring at a team with a respectable 10-6 record, expectations have lowered from contender status to, most likely, where they were last season before their makeover: a better-than-average squad that maxes out in the second round.
But even Bynum’s return does not answer every question mark surrounding this team. Sixteen games in, and glaring weaknesses exist in the form of inconsistent shooting and spotty defense.
So what next? They make a deal as groundbreaking as the one which brought the mercurial center to town mere months ago.
So, yours truly decided to play with every basketball fan’s favorite time-waster, ESPN.com’s NBA Trade Machine, and came up with the following gems, all of which should instantly transfer the Sixers from could-have-beens back to will-be's. Each trade passes Trade Machine muster, meaning that all players’ salaries on both sides match up to make any of these fantasy trades a potential reality.
With that said, let the wheeling and dealing begin…
Andrew Bynum and Arnett Moultrie for Tyrus Thomas and DeSagana Diop
This would basically be a "trade my damaged goods for your damaged goods" deal. Bobcats owner Michael Jordan has been known to take risks on big men (Kwame Brown, anyone?) and a name like Bynum would certainly puts some fans in the seats of their new arena if and when he returns. If he doesn't, it's still a low risk-high gain scenario, with the afro-ed one in the final year of his contract.
Meanwhile, Tyrus Thomas may find himself as the odd man out in Charlotte when he returns from his own injury, as the Bobcats' commitment to its youth movement has already been paying off, tallying as many wins in a month as they did all of last season.
Back in Philly, we see Thaddeus Young masquerading as both a 4 and a 5 when he's best suited as a 3. In fact, the only natural power forward on their roster (outside of the unproven, bench-riding rookie Moultrie) is Lavoy Allen. Would you rather the proven Thomas with a higher upside over the limited Allen? Me too.
See the trade here: http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=c6uc2cj
Bynum for Zaza Pechulia, Kyle Korver and Johan Petro
In many ways, the Hawks and Sixers have travelled similar paths in recent years: two fringe-playoff teams with deep rosters both lacking a missing piece.
All players involved here are in the final year of their contract. A definite risk worth taking for the Hawks, as can you imagine a front court of Bynum, Al Horford and Josh Smith? It may be enough to convince Andrew to sign an extension on the dotted line.
Meanwhile, Sixers get some desperately needed rebounding back from Pachulia as well as a homecoming for sharpshooting Korver, who returns to where it all began.
See the trade here: http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=d4wge4a
Jason Richardson for Jason Maxiell
Jason Richardson has done everything asked of him and more in his brief tenure in Philly, but the Sixers can afford to part with the veteran shooting guard if it means getting tough inside the paint in his place.
In this deal, J-Rich returns to Detroit, where he played his college ball at nearby Michigan State, and instantly gives the rebuilding Pistons a legitimate perimeter threat that they’re sorely lacking. Jason Maxiell, in turn, instantly gives the Sixers a legitimate post presence that they’re sorely lacking. And if it doesn’t work, he’s off the books after this season, anyway.
Plus, it will allow Turner to slip back to shooting guard, creating mismatches for opposing teams, and Thad Young back to small forward, potentially doing the same.
See the trade here: http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=bmnjqox
Thaddeus Young for Paul Millsap
In this Trade Machine incarnation, the Sixers get a tougher inside presence in Paul Millsap which they so badly need. The Jazz, one of the few teams fortunate to have a glutton of big men, get a younger, more versatile Thad Young that, along with future star Derrick Favors, they can build around for the future.
Plus, the likelihood of them resigning both Millsap as well as Al Jefferson in the off-season was extremely unlikely.
Perhaps the acquisition of Young – whose value has never been higher – will be enough for Jefferson to recommit to the Jazz.
See the trade here: http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=a632enj
Three-Way Deal Between Pistons and Cavaliers Brings Maggette to Philly
Alright, now we're having some fun. Here's how it breaks down:
The Cavaliers get Thad Young from the Sixers and Charlie Villanueva from the Pistons. The Pistons get Dorell Wright from the Sixers and Luke Walton from the Cavs. The Sixers get Corey Maggette from the Pistons and Tristan Thompson from the Cavs.
Whew! Get all that?
Cleveland gets a nice building block in Young and either rolls the dice on Villanueva’s health or simply amnesties him next year.
Detroit stretches the court with some needed shooting and defense in the likes of Wright and Walton, respectively, while getting two expiring contracts for the price of one.
Philly doesn’t have any player on its current roster who can drive to the basket and consistently draw contact and get to the line. Maggette has made a career of doing just that. Plus, Thompson is an intriguing piece who can hold his own in the low post.
See the trade here: http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=d5cg6va