NBA Trade Rumors: 76ers, Thunder, Kings Exploring Market Before Deadline

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 26:  Vlade Divac of the Sacramento Kings attends the game against the LA Clippers on December 26, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings all plan to be buyers ahead of the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

Charania reported the Thunder are "pursuing shooting small/power forwards," while the Sixers are targeting a wing and center. The Kings want to "build momentum" as they sit only 1.5 games back of the eighth seed in the Western Conference, but Sacramento's front office has also "emphasized maintaining cap flexibility."

Perimeter shooting is an issue for both Philadelphia and Oklahoma City. The Sixers are tied for 12th in made three-pointers (11.3 per game), while the Thunder are tied for 20th (10.2). While Philly is eighth in three-point percentage at 35.9, OKC is tied for 26th at 33.8 percent.

Philadelphia would benefit from getting a floor-spacer to complement the trio of Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Oklahoma City needs a frontcourt player who can help offset Russell Westbrook's inefficiency—he's shooting 24.2 percent from beyond the arc.

Neither the Sixers nor the Thunder can swing a landscape-changing deal ahead of the deadline. Philadelphia gave up two of its best trade assets—Dario Saric and Robert Covington—to land Butler, and acquiring Paul George in 2017 represented the Thunder's big gamble in the trade market.

Still, the two teams should work hard to improve around the margins to solidify their playoff seedings. The Sixers are fourth in the East, and the Thunder sit third in the West.

The Kings are an interesting case in that they have some incentive to make a postseason push. Even if the ultimate outcome was a first-round sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, simply reaching the playoffs would be a big achievement for a franchise on a streak of 12 straight years in the draft lottery.

Having said that, Sacramento is smart not to go all-in right now. Assuming the Kings aren't enjoying a false dawn, general manager Vlade Divac should wait until they're a little closer to the West's elite teams before he seriously considers a trade that prioritizes short-term gain over a long-term vision.

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