Counteroffer: Al Horford to Houston?


With the NBA season suspended, there are plenty of trade rumors, scenarios, & ideas going around to pass the time. Some seem to hold water while others might be a bit more questionable. In our new series, “Counteroffer,” we’ll take a look at some recent Sixers trade rumors, analyze them, and present a counter offer in the best interest of all teams involved.

First on our list is a recent trade from Bleacher Report’s staff fantasy basketball league. The popular site assigned staff members as General Managers to each NBA team and they were charged with improving their teams roster with the goal of being named Executive of the Year. Ross Shwaber was named as the Philadelphia 76ers’ GM. As far as the exercise is concerned, Shwaber did very well building a roster that fit the skill set of stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Many of Shwaber’s moves were interesting, but what we’re here to focus on today is his trade proposal that sent Al Horford to the Houston Rockets.

The Trade

Philadelphia Receives

Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers, Nemanja Bjelica, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Chris Clemons

Houston Receives

Al Horford, Furkan Korkmaz, Shake Milton, and a 2020 second round pick (via Atlanta)

Now the important thing to remember is that this whole scenario was a part of a much larger exercise. That is why Nemanja Bjelica, who currently plays for the Kings, is included in this deal. All in all this is a solid trade. Eric Gordon provides another ball handler and more importantly extra shooting. Though Gordon had a poor season from three, he’s shot 37% over his career. The real prize is Nemanja Bjelica. The Serbian shooter is a perfect stretch four that could either fit next to Embiid or come off the bench. After those two, the rest can be chalked up to salary fill ins, though Rivers is an interesting bench piece.

As exciting as the idea of trading Horford is, there are some potential worries for the Sixers with this trade. First, it is very tough to move on from Shake Milton given what he showed this season, and while it is something the Sixers will have to consider, I don’t know that they get enough back in this situation. Secondly, Fukan Korkmaz is similar in the sense that both are young, cheap players who are terrific from three. Between the two of them, they shot 41% from three this past season. On top of those two, the Sixers would be giving away the top second round pick. To most, second round picks are near meaningless, but second round picks are an opportunity to add players at dirt cheap deals.

Now to move on from Horford’s contract and obtain Gordon and Bjelica, it’s obvious that the Sixers have to give up assets. The long term potential of Milton, Korkmaz, and an early second round pick, however, outweigh those additions.

The Counteroffer

Now for these counteroffers the objective must remain the same. In this case that means sending Al Horford to Houston. Now the idea of adding an actual center may not be something the Rockets are interested in, but it absolutely should be. Since this offer won’t take place in Bleacher Report’s fantasy league, this offer will only involve those currently on their respective teams.

Philadelphia Receives

Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker

Houston Receives

Al Horford, Zhaire Smith, 2020 Second round pick (via NY Knicks)

In this trade, the Rockets still get their man in Horford and a second rounder, and a young prospect even though they don’t have Bjelica. The Rockets also don’t have to part with Austin Rivers or their young talent. The Rockets can look forward to a starting lineup featuring Westbrook, Harden, (insert generic swing-man here), Covington, and Horford. This lineup could potentially do it all and the Rockets would have their best chance yet to win a championship.

The Sixers, on the other hand, rid themselves of Horford’s contract, add Gordon as a combo guard who can either start or come off the bench, and the ever versatile P.J. Tucker. Gordon’s value is clear, but Tucker’s value can’t be overstated. He can shoot, rebound, and defend almost every position. Tucker was built for playoff basketball and would continue to thrive with the Sixers.

With Gordon and Tucker the Sixers add better fits, more defensive versatility, and improved shooting. In a rare case, both franchises come out as winners in this trade. The Sixers are likely to move on from Al Horford during the offseason and they may just have a perfect partner in Houston.

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