3 Trade Targets for 76ers to Pursue at 2022 Deadline

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2022

3 Trade Targets for 76ers to Pursue at 2022 Deadline

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    The Philadelphia 76ers remain the team to watch at the 2022 NBA trade deadline—even if there are no guarantees they will get anything done.

    They have the trade market's top chip in 25-year-old All-Star Ben Simmons, but they might not cash it in until the offseason. The Sixers could stretch this into the summer to chase bigger fish "unless [they are] blown away at the deadline," per The Athletic's Shams Charania and Sam Amick.

    That might make sense to maximize Simmons' trade value, but it could also take the wind out of the Sixers' sails this season, which would be an absolute bummer with Joel Embiid delivering another MVP-caliber campaign.

    Should the right offer surface between now and the Feb. 10 cutoff, though, you would think this front office would have to pounce. The following three players in particular could pique Philadelphia's interest.

Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

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    The Sixers have long been aiming for the stars in Simmons trade talks, and Bradley Beal might be the best it can realistically get.

    Damian Lillard is possibly down for the count after abdominal surgery, and James Harden is locked into a championship race. They are presumably off the table, as Jaylen Brown should be in Boston.

    But Beal might be a different story. He is neither positioned to make much noise with the Wizards this season nor contractually committed to them beyond it (well, other than a $36.4 million player option he should have no trouble declining). Washington is in danger of missing the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, and you wonder whether Beal will take this losing as the writing on the wall.

    Should he happen to break loose—by either a trade demand or the Wizards pivoting into a rebuild—the Sixers should be ready to strike. Beal is the perimeter shot-creator they desperately need, and with a legitimate co-star to help carry the offensive load in Embiid, maybe Beal even gets back to a respectable level at the defensive end.

John Collins, Atlanta Hawks

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    The Sixers need more scoring around Embiid, and John Collins offers plenty of it.

    The bouncy big man is putting up 17 points per night on 53.7/42.6/79.7 shooting, and that qualifies as a down year for him. His three-point shot would give Embiid more room in which to operate, while the attention Embiid draws would give Collins wider lanes to race through for rim-rocking finishes.

    This might be where you note there could be some problematic overlapping between Collins and Tobias Harris, two offense-first power forwards. Don't worry—the Sixers have already accounted for that.

    "For Simmons, the 76ers have asked...for a package around John Collins and multiple first-round picks from the Hawks along with Atlanta taking on Tobias Harris," Charania reported.

    A package of Simmons and Harris going to Atlanta would mean more than Collins heading back to Philly. Throw in a shot-creator like Bogdan Bogdanovic, a three-and-D swingman like De'Andre Hunter or a net-shredder like Kevin Huerter, and this deal gets a lot more interesting, especially when considering what Philly might fetch for those incoming first-rounders.

Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings

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    Charania also reported the Sixers "have asked the Kings for guard Tyrese Haliburton and multiple first-round picks."

    Sacramento fans might say that's too much, but that's fine. Philly is always free to make the request, and the Kings' decision-makers might see things differently without the sentimental attachments that fans have.

    If Sacramento would sign off on a trade of Haliburton and more for Simmons, that might be hard for the Sixers to pass up.

    Sure, Haliburton isn't an established star, but he has managed to flash that upside while also showing off the polish and versatility that should allow for a smooth midseason transition. Plus, like Collins, Haliburton would need more players going with him to make the money work. So instead of Haliburton and picks, it might be Haliburton, picks and Buddy Hield or Harrison Barnes. That type of trade could be the Sixers' catalyst for a second-half push and potentially something special.