76ers Players Who Should Be Shopped at 2021 NBA Trade Deadline
The Philadelphia 76ers might be perched atop the Eastern Conference standings, but they shouldn't use that as an excuse to sit out trade season.
For starters, no club should feel totally complacent with its roster. Beyond that, though, there are reasons to wonder if Philly might be a little less equipped to make a championship push than its prominent place in the standings suggest.
This roster can be improved, and the Sixers have different avenues to find those upgrades. We'll highlight three players worth shopping—actively shopping, not fielding offers as Philly might quietly do with Ben Simmons if the right star (cough, Bradley Beal) hits the trade market—between now and the March 25 trade deadline.
If the Sixers want to make an impact move without giving up Ben Simmons (or Joel Embiid, obviously), then Tyrese Maxey is probably the trade chip who gets it done.
Parting with a freshman first-rounder is never fun, especially when that player has shown as much promise as Maxey. Sixers fans won't soon forget his 39-point, seven-rebound, six-assist explosion in early January, and even if those numbers were inflated by Philly's decimated roster, he still put them up against a Denver Nuggets team that played in last year's conference finals.
Saying that, the 20-year-old is encountering the ups and downs virtually every young player experiences. They aren't causes for concern, per se, but for a club committed to the championship hunt, they might be reasons to limit his floor time once the second season starts.
If he can't contribute much to this title race, Philly might be better off flipping him for someone who would. Maxey isn't bringing back Bradley Beal, but if he could be a key piece in a move for Zach LaVine, the Sixers might have to pounce.
Catch Shake Milton on a good night, and the 24-year-old seems like a rising star.
He can be a walking bucket. He has scored at least 18 points six times this season and shot better than 53 percent from the field in each contest. He can also be a prolific passer. He's had six assists in four different games this season and only had five total turnovers in those outings.
But his scoring is just erratic enough to wonder whether he'll be more than a spark-plug sub. His three-point shooting has flat-lined (30.6 percent), and that's basically a non-negotiable for guards running alongside Simmons and Joel Embiid. Milton's defense is inconsistent at best, and he's more of a natural scorer than a true table-setter.
His skill set has value, but not in a way that best complements the Sixers' stars. If he has enough trade value to bring back a high-level rotation player, that might be a move for Philadelphia to make.
If the Sixers sought out suitors for Mike Scott, there's a chance they might hear only crickets.
He's sort of a stretch big, but he isn't very big (6'7", 237 lbs) and hasn't stretched out defenses much in limited run this season (28.9 percent from three). At times, he might have been billed as a scoring specialist, but there hasn't been a ton of scoring to speak of in recent years (11.8 points per 36 minutes).
While all of the above might be reason for Philly to consider a split, a player is only worth shopping if he might actually generate interest elsewhere. What could make that happen for Scott? His $5 million expiring salary.
That's not a huge number, obviously, but it's sizable enough to increase someone's flexibility ahead of 2021 free agency. It's also a useful money-matcher if the Sixers work out a significant trade involving one or more of their players making a rookie-scale salary. If Philly does something remotely big this trade season, Scott seems one of the likelier candidates to be on the move.