The NBA trade deadline is approaching and the 76ers are once again a team that figures to be active. Whether they strike a deal or not remains to be seen, but there are some intriguing opportunities. The Sixers are pretty crowded in the front court and they desperately need some talent at the guard position. A decision will have to be made to move on if the team should move one of the three big men at least and without seeing what Embiid can do, it would make sense to move either Okafor or Noel. After exploring some possible trades, here are three that would make sense.
76ers acquire G CJ McCollum, F Cliff Alexander from Trail Blazers for C Jahlil Okafor
In this scenario the Sixers choose Okafor as the one to go. Okafor has unbelievable upside on the offensive side of the ball; however in a league where small ball is taking over, Okafor may be special at the wrong time. The center would also provide the Blazers with a dynamic one-two punch (along Damian Lillard) for many years to come. CJ McCollum, out of Lehigh, has really turned a corner this season and may be well on his way to becoming NBA’s Most Improved Player. McCollum is a true scoring SG (20.8 PPG), who actually was drafted as a PG, giving coach Brett Brown backcourt flexibility. The 24 year old guard would be able to take the next step with the Sixers, as he would be the scoring option with the Sixers, unlike in Portland where he is still playing second fiddle to Damian Lillard.
Cliff Alexander was a troubled, but uber-talented forward coming out of high school, and his issues continued at Kansas, leaving him undrafted. He is still very young, and has some considerable upside.
76ers acquire G Dion Waiters, F Kyle Singler from Thunder for 76ers 2018 2nd, 2019 2nd
This is the ultimate Hinkie move. In years past he has used his immense cap room to snag picks and players with some potential for almost nothing. Waiters, a Philly native, is a free agent this offseason and has expressed interest in returning to his hometown. The guard is also looking for a rather large contract. This is where Hinkie’s cap room comes in. The Thunder needs to shed as much salary as possible to give upcoming free agent Kevin Durant the deal he wants, even with the NBA salary jump next season. Hinkie identifies the opportunity and offers to take 27 year old Kyle Singler’s $4.5 million contract over the next 5 years, and Waiters gets a shot to prove that he’s worth a big contract with the Sixers. Hinkie then sends the Thunder two of his forty thousand second round picks.
76ers acquire G Marcus Smart, G RJ Hunter, 2016 Cavaliers 2nd from Celtics for C Nerlens Noel
In the opposite scenario from the first trade, the Sixers have decided to move on from the defensive prodigy. The Celtics get a guy who has the talent to win multiple NBA Defensive Player of the Year’s; however Okafor’s advanced post game is just too much to give away for Philadelphia. In return the Sixers receive guards KJ Hunter and Marcus Smart. Smart has the potential to turn into a true lockdown defender, and his offense would have room to grow with the Sixers. Hunter was the Cinderella of the 2015 NCAA Tourney when him and his dad pushed Georgia State past Baylor in buzzer-beating fashion. Hunter has solid shooting ability and with a team like the Sixers, he would get solid minutes and the opportunity to prove himself.