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Al Horford Trade Rumors: 76ers 'Don't Want To' Deal PF Because of Bucks

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2020

Philadelphia 76ers center Al Horford (42) runs on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, in Washington. The Wizards won 119-113. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

If the Philadelphia 76ers strike a deal to add a much-needed shooter to the roster before Thursday's trade deadline, it reportedly will not involve veteran big man Al Horford.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on The Woj Pod (h/t Ky Carlin of USA Today Sixers Wire), the Sixers "don't want to" trade Horford because of his size and the belief that the combination of Horford and center Joel Embiid gives them the best chance to beat Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs.

While it remains to be seen how the Sixers will make the salaries work in a potential trade, Wojnarowski added that Philly wants to add a shooter after trading Landry Shamet to the Los Angeles Clippers last season and losing JJ Redick in free agency.

Dating back to last month, the 76ers have been linked to several quality shooters. WIP's Jon Johnson reported that the Sixers have interest in Sacramento Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic and Minnesota Timberwolves wing Robert Covington; Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Sixers were looking into Detroit Pistons guards Langston Galloway and Luke Kennard; and The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor linked the 76ers to Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari.

Any of the aforementioned players would help a Sixers team that ranks 23rd in the NBA in three-pointers made per game and 20th in three-point shooting percentage.

Amid losing both Redick and Jimmy Butler during the offseason, the 76ers signed Horford in hopes of giving themselves a major advantage over Eastern Conference teams like the Bucks and Boston Celtics that lack many quality bigs.

So far this season, Horford is averaging 12.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, which are numbers that are mostly below his career averages. He is also shooting a career-low 44.9 percent from the field and is connecting on just 31.6 percent of his three-point attempts, although he is making a career-high 1.4 trifectas per game.

Even though he has struggled to some degree this season, the 33-year-old Horford is a versatile big who can rebound, pass and stretch the floor when needed.

He also has 120 career games of playoff experience to his credit, and that is likely when Horford will benefit the Sixers the most thanks to his familiarity with big-game situations and willingness to do the little things needed to win during the postseason.

The 76ers have lost two in a row and are all the way down in sixth in the Eastern Conference at 31-19, but they are just three games out of third and five games out of second, so they still have an opportunity to finish with one of the top seeds.

They are a dangerous team regardless of where they land, though, and their unique makeup compared to their competitors could give them a big advantage come playoff time.

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