76ers Trade Rumors Tracker: Latest Updates Ahead of NBA Trade Deadline

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2013

76ers Trade Rumors Tracker: Latest Updates Ahead of NBA Trade Deadline

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    The February 21st deadline is rapidly approaching, and for fringe playoff contenders like the Philadelphia 76ers, that means decisions must be made on the quick.

    Earmarked as a team that turned the proverbial corner in 2012, Philadelphia has regressed to the mean this season. Instead of reminding us why they took Boston to seven games in last year's Conference Semis, they've remind us why they were an eight seed to begin with.

    At time of publication, they check in at 21-26—ninth in the Eastern Conference and three games behind Boston for the elusive eight seed.

    But there's hope on the horizon. Season-ending injuries to Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger—despite their early ramifications—should eventually catch up to the Celtics this season. And with the fleeting chance of Andrew Bynum returning to the court slowly sounding realistic, Philly could soon be much, much stronger up front.

    This team knows full well, more so than any other unit in basketball, that once you're in the playoffs, the regular season ceases to matter. They did it last year, and despite their ply thus far, they're confident they can do it again.

    Which brings them to a trade deadline crossroads. Do they buy? Sell? Stand pat? How are they supposed to approach a season that has gone, and could continue to go, in so many different directions?

    Let's take a look at the latest buzz.

Sixers Interested in Wolves' Forward Lou Amundson

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    With injuries—both nagging and long-term—plaguing the first half of Philadelphia's season, it appears they could be looking into adding some depth.

    Per ESPN 1500, the Sixers, along with the New York Knicks, are interested in trading for Timberwolves forward Lou Amundson. A six-year veteran from UNLV, Amundson has fallen out of favor in Minnesota, where he's struggled to find minutes behind Kevin Love, Derrick Williams, Dante Cunningham and even Chris Johnson.

    As mentioned in the ESPN 1500 piece, it would like take just a protected second-round pick to acquire Amundson's services—a relative pittance that makes him well worth the price of purchase.

    Even though his minutes have been limited this year, Amundson is just one year removed from playing rotational minutes for a playoff team, the Indiana Pacers. He played 13-plus minutes three times in the team's six-game series with the Heat last season, providing scrappy toughness and defense off the bench.

    To say the Sixers are desperate for size is a bit of an understatement. Andrew Bynum, as we all well know, has yet to suit up this season; but nagging injuries to players like Kwame Brown have often left them even shorter-staffed in the paint.

    Bringing in Amundson, for practically nothing, would be a practical form of insurance, that could subtly be the difference between making and missing the postseason.

Sixers Interested in Thunder Guard Eric Maynor?

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    Speaking of serviceable role players who have fallen out of favor on their current team...

    Eric Maynor, not too far removed from being considered among the top backup point guards in basketball, has found himself third on the Thunder's depth chart. Second-year athlete player Reggie Jackson has been getting most of the minutes, which ostensibly makes Maynor expendable.

    And the Sixers have taken notice. Per John Finger of CSN Philly, it's no secret that the team is interested in getting a backup point guard, and have called the Thunder multiple times about Maynor.

    So what would that mean? Well, in the short term, much better play from the head of unit No. 2. Maynor admittedly hasn't looked the same coming back from last year's torn ACL (which is, presumably, why Jackson usurped the job), but he's still a smart, heady player coming off the bench.

    Which could be invaluable for Philly, who has counted on a mishmash of out-of-position swingmen and D-League alumnus to run the show behind Jrue Holiday.

    Thunder GM Sam Presti rarely—nay, never—gets ripped off in trades, so the Sixers would need to tread carefully with this one. Presti knows what kind of asset Maynor is, even if coach Scott Brooks doesn't play him most nights, and he knows what Philly would do to get its hands on him.

    Maynor would make a massive impact on this year's team, but he's not worth sacrificing a solid future player for. If they can get him at a reduced price, though, they should definitely pull the trigger.

Other Team Needs

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    As discussed in previous slides, the need for injury insurance down low and point guard depth are pressing issues for the Philadelphia 76ers. Without addressing those, it's doubtful they'll be able to turn around the season and make (or advance in) the playoffs.

    If a proper trade materializes, they could probably use an upgrade on the wing too. That sounds ridiculous considering their preponderance of twos and threes, but it's true nonetheless.

    Jason Richardson has regressed after a good start, and Nick Young (granted, this is personal opinion) leaves a lot to be desired with his capriciousness.

    Some more consistency out there could help supplement the Jrue Holidays and Evan Turners of the world.