76ers' Updated Trade Targets with 2021 NBA Deadline Approaching
An active trade season always seemed likely for the Philadelphia 76ers the second they handed over front-office control to Daryl Morey.
Philly's position atop the Eastern Conference standings shouldn't change that.
If anything, the Sixers' play so far might be fuel to the trade fires. They are so close to championship contention, they can probably see the celebratory parade route.
Whether Philly wants to swing big for a star or pay a smaller price for a rotational role player, we have three players who should be on the radar ahead of the March 25 NBA trade deadline.
George Hill, Okahoma City Thunder
The Sixers could stand to upgrade the point guard spot. And no, that's not an anti-Ben Simmons take.
Rather, Philly could be in the market for someone who can share the floor with Simmons, push him off the ball for stretches and provide depth behind him. While the Sixers smartly invested in shooting this offseason, that's left them with a slew of shoot-first guards behind Simmons. Come playoff time, Philly won't want to count on Shake Milton, Seth Curry and Tyrese Maxey to create offense for their teammates.
George Hill could handle that role, though. He's not quite a floor general, but with Simmons around, that's not really the Sixers' focus. Instead, Hill could run the offense in spurts while serving in a floor-spacing role when Simmons is on the court. Philly needs more gunners (28th in threes per game), and Hill is a career 38.4 percent marksman from distance.
Hill would also bring a wealth of playoff experience (127 games so far), which could be a boon for a squad still searching for a way past the conference semis.
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
Bring. Him. Home.
Toronto Raptors may not consider moving franchise icon Kyle Lowry, but, man, would the Philly native look awesome in a Sixers uniform.
After falling short in the James Harden sweepstakes, Philadelphia continues "seeking major moves to increase its championship odds," per The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor, who called Lowry "one name to monitor." The Sixers don't have many obvious needs, but a perimeter shooter and shot-creator is atop the list.
Lowry pairs Broad Street toughness with a wickedly effective offensive skill set. He's currently pumping in 18.0 points and 6.6 assists while converting 46.6 percent of his field goals and 40.5 percent of his long-range looks.
This is the kind of trade that could turn the Sixers' championship dreams into a reality. And since Lowry is a 34-year-old on an expiring contract, he wouldn't deplete the asset collection (i.e., necessitate a Simmons sacrifice) the way a Bradley Beal blockbuster would.
P.J. Tucker, Houston Rockets
Just about every contender could talk themselves into needing P.J. Tucker.
But not every contender is headed by Morey, the executive responsible for getting Tucker to the Houston Rockets in 2017 free agency. Morey knows Tucker's strengths and limitations as well as anyone, and Philly's decision-maker should know Tucker's contributions could be exactly what this club needs.
The Sixers already have a strong defense (fifth in efficiency), but they could become juggernauts by joining Tucker with Simmons and Joel Embiid. That's a massive and mobile monster capable of silencing even the most potent attacks.
The fact Tucker can make open shots (career 35.9 percent from three) also means he wouldn't spoil the Sixers' newfound spacing. Assuming the Rockets would actually do a deal with Morey, this makes a ton of sense.