The NFL’s free agency window is still going strong, and the Philadelphia Eagles pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the period by acquiring CB Darius Slay Jr. from the Detroit Lions.
Big time trades are fun. One team gets an established star to add to their roster, while the other can normally load up on assets/draft picks.
With Philly fans shouting their praises left and right over the addition of the All-Pro corner, this got me thinking about the team across the street from our beloved Birds. What were some of the Sixers‘ most impactful trades in their franchise’s history?
#5. Kyle Korver
While many fans may be quick to point out that Korver started his career with the 76ers, he was actually acquired via a draft-day trade. Whether you count this as a stereotypical trade or not in today’s terms, the fact is that the Sixers had to iniitally pry the sharpshooter away from the New Jersey Nets.
Traded to Philly for just $125,000 (which was used to help buy a new copier machine), Korver would go on to become an instant contributor for the Sixers. Through his first five seasons in the NBA, Korver would average just over 10 points per game while also shooting 40.9% from beyond the arc.
Korver would secure a hefty raise in 2005 with a 6 year/$25 million dollar extension. However, he would fail to play out that full contract in Philly as he was traded for a first-round pick prior to the 2007 season.
Korver would hold the franchise’s all-time record for threes made in a single season for close to two decades before JJ Redick would ultimately top it in 2019. To this day, Korver’s career 3P% of 42.9 ranks as one of the best in NBA history.
#4. Dikembe Mutombo
Entering the 2000-2001 NBA season, the Sixers knew they had something special in Allen Iverson. The six-foot SG had begun to show legit flashes of being one of the league’s best, and with this in mind, the team decided to go “all in” on getting him some help.
The team also knew that Shaquille O’Neal and the Lakers were the team to beat, and with the Sixers current big (Theo Ratliff) done for the year due to injury, they went out and acquired 8x All-Star and shot-blocking machine: Dikembe Mutombo.
Known for his Hall of Fame level defense and elite size, Mutombo made an instant impact with the team, giving “AI” a co-star to operate with.
In one and a half seasons with Philly, Mutombo would go on to average a double-double, along with 2.5 blocks per game. Despite failing to topple the L.A. dynasty in the 2000/01 finals, the African big man was a huge part in the Sixers getting that far in the first place.
#3. Bobby Jones
Similar to that of Mutombo, Bobby Jones was a player acquired in hopes that he would help launch the Sixers into title contention. However, unlike the previously mentioned center, Jones was actually able to bring a title to Philly in 1983 (with the help of Dr. J and Moses Malone of course).
Brought to Philadelphia in 1978, the vision for Jones was that he would provide some elite-level scoring for the team coming off the bench. Despite never being utilized in this manner before, Jones would quickly adjust, becoming one of the best sixth men in the league.
Jones would go on to average 10.7 points per game across 8 seasons in Philly, making two All-Star games and of course winning a championship. The 6’ 9” power forward was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019 and currently has his jersey hanging in the rafters of the Wells Fargo Center.
#2. Wilt Chamberlain
Arguably the greatest center in NBA history, the acquisition of Wilt catapulted the 76ers into that much sought after realm of “big market franchises”.
After dominating the league as a Philadelphia/San Francisco Warrior for the first 5.5 seasons of his career, Chamberlain was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1964/1965 season.
Joining future Hall of Famer Hal Greer, Chamberlain was acquired to directly match up with the rival Celtics’ own superb big man: Bill Russell.
Despite being knocked out by Russell and the Celtics in both 1965 and 1966, Wilt would finally get his revenge and bring a NBA championship to Philadelphia in 1967. During his four seasons as a Sixers, Wilt would average 27.6 points and 23.9 rebounds per game. He would lead the league in minutes played, rebounds, and FG% across three seasons as a 76er, while leading the league in points during the 1965-66 season.
#1 Moses Malone
While Wilt may go down as one of the greatest centers to ever grace the NBA’s courts, Moses Malone will no doubt be remembered as the greatest Sixer center ever.
The acquisition of Malone by the 76ers in 1982 was unprecedented. After losing to the Kareem-led Lakers in the finals the year prior, the 76ers knew they needed to upgrade the center position to compete. So what did they do? They simply went out and got a 5x All-Star in Moses freaking Malone.
Paired up with superstar Julius Erving, the newly formed duo would go on to do exactly what they were tasked with doing. Winning the NBA championship in Malone’s very first year as a 76er, the future Hall of Fame big man etched his place in Philadelphia history forever.
*If you missed the first part to this series “Ranking the top-5 Sixers free-agent signings of all time” check that out here: https://phillysportsnetwork.com/2020/03/18/ranking-the-top-5-sixers-free-agent-signings-of-all-time/*
Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports