76ers' Last-Minute Trade Targets Before 2021 NBA Deadline

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 23, 2021

76ers' Last-Minute Trade Targets Before 2021 NBA Deadline

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    It's nearing last-call time for NBA trade deadline shoppers.

    Teams only have between now and Thursday at 3 p.m. ET to finalize their transactions. For the Philadelphia 76ers, that means it's decision-making time.

    Will the Sixers see their position atop the Eastern Conference standings as a reason to avoid a big-ticket purchase? Or will the silver medalists in the James Harden sweepstakes make another run at an All-Star?

    Considering new president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is calling the shots, an aggressive approach to trade season seems like the safe bet. With that in mind, here are three players who could be prominently positioned on Morey's radar.

Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

    Assuming players like Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic stay put, Kyle Lowry might be unopposed as the top talent on the trade block.

    That's assuming, of course, the face of the Toronto Raptors is available, which isn't quite a lock. But with Toronto stuck in a tailspin and free agency awaiting Lowry at season's end, it seems possible—if not likely—the six-time All-Star could be on the move.

    The Sixers have interest in the Philly native, per The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor, as do the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers. Philadelphia could use another shot-creator on the perimeter—it might be all this roster needs—making Lowry a fascinating fit on paper.

    But there's still the matter of making the money work to bring on Lowry's $30.5 million salary. The Sixers would need to part with several players to make that happen—Danny Green and Mike Scott to start the salary-matching and then whatever sweeteners the Raptors would want—but if they see a scoring general as their top need, Lowry looks like the best option to fill that spot.

Norman Powell, Toronto Raptors

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

    If the Sixers are eyeing the Raptors' roster, Lowry may not be the only name to catch their eye. Win-now shoppers are also focusing on Norman Powell, who is orchestrating a well-timed career year ahead of a possible (see: likely) trip to free agency, as he holds an $11.6 million player option for next season.

    ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on SportsCenter that Powell is "a name that has really emerged" and "could be a surprise name that could help a contender in a late deal this week."

    Powell is essentially a scoring specialist, but he's never been better at the job. All of his point-production stats are sitting at career-best levels, including his 19.6 points per game and each part of his 49.6/44.4/87.2 shooting slash.

    Philly's 13th-ranked offense could use a lift, and trading for Powell could be a way to power it up without depleting the asset pool.

Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    What could you buy with a $129.8 million payroll? Well, if you're the Orlando Magic, then apparently not much.

    The Magic have twice as many losses (28) as wins (14), which could finally get the ball rolling on an overdue reset. They have some interesting players who will get teams talking, and Evan Fournier could be a sneaky-smart target for the Sixers.

    His stats are a little inflated by a lack of support in Orlando—for whom he ranks second in both minutes (29.9) and points (19.1)—but if Philadelphia could shift him into an instant-offense reserve role, he might scratch several itches. He's a crafty scorer with a reliable three-ball (38.4 percent), and he can find shots for others as a secondary distributor (3.6 assists).

    At the right price—Keith Smart of Yahoo Sports reported the free-agent-to-be wouldn't cost "all that much due to [his] expiring [contract]"—Fournier could give this supporting cast an offensive jolt.


    Statistics used courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com. Salary information obtained via Basketball Insiders.