The Sixers are unlikely to stand pat after this season baring a miraculous trip to the NBA Finals. If and when they decide to shake up the roster, it will likely be a little more than a tune-up. In our series “Counteroffer” we’ve been looking at some of the recent trade rumors surrounding the Sixers, including one that sent Horford to Houston.
Now we turn our attention to a rumor that would bring Kyle Lowry back home to Philadelphia. Earlier this month it was reported that the Raptors would attempt a drastic move up the draft board in pursuits of LaMelo ball. In order to do so, the Raptors would strike a deal with the Golden State Warriors and add the Philadelphia 76ers. PSN’s own Ricky Amandeo wrote a breakdown of the rumor first reported by Rashad Phillips.
The trade rumored isn’t overly specific but it would involve at least the following:
Kyle Lowry (PG)
Golden State’s 2020 first-round pick
GOLDEN STATE RECEIVES
Ben Simmons (PG)
Phillips believes that the Raptors are sold on LaMelo Ball or at least that they should be. Now that may be the case but Phillips’ other beliefs are questionable at best. Here’s a quote
“I believe the experiment in Philly is over… I just believe that Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid just are not compatible in regards to how the NBA style is played. Not personally compatible, just the way the spacing; Ben Simmons’ inability to make jump shots, Joel Embiid’s ability to want to shoot jump shots, I just don’t think it’s a good mix. If I’m the Raptors, I’ll trade Kyle Lowry to Philly. Philly needs a point guard, I believe Kyle Lowry is one of the premiere point guards in the NBA. Philly needs that. I would send Ben Simmons to Golden State for maybe a pick and some players. If I’m the Raptors, I’d try to get in that mix to get LaMelo Ball.”
To say we disagree is polite. I firmly believe that Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid can thrive together, the right roster just needs to be built around them. Adding Kyle Lowry isn’t a terrible idea though I don’t love his game. That is IF the Sixers keep Simmons and he is willing to move to the point forward role. Trading Simmons for Lowry straight up is also certifiably insane but that’s not the trade Phillips presents even though that’s how far it got.
The Warriors don’t seem too attached to their first-round pick in a weak draft as long as they’re receiving proper compensation. With that being the case, it is certainly believable that the Raptors could obtain the pick, the only question would be if they can work it out with a third team.
This trade is aimed to make the Sixers better so that means that both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid will remain on the team. One other thing to consider is that the money needs to work. In the trade above the Warriors don’t send out any money while they receive Simmons’ contract (over $29 million), this would be a clear violation of the salary cap so the Warriors will have to send out money as well. Last year the tax apron (the absolute hard cap) was $138,928,000, with the corona virus impact, that number is almost guaranteed to go down so this move isn’t likely. It also is hindered by the fact that the money needs to balance. Without sending Andrew Wiggins to the Raptors, this deal dies.
Kyle Lowry (PG)
Golden State’s 2020 first-round pick, Andrew Wiggins (SF), Kevon Looney (PF/C)
GOLDEN STATE RECEIVES
Al Horford (C), Furkan Korkmaz (SF), Terence Davis (SG), Philadelphia’s first-round pick (via OKC)
The Raptors get the pick they need to draft LaMelo Ball and a solid backup in Kevon Looney. They do have to absorb Andrew Wiggins’ contract but that could work in their favor in the long term. The Raptors have made a living maximizing the players they have; Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakim, Norman Powell, they even fixed Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. If there’s any team that can turn Wiggins into an efficient player, it’s Toronto.
The Warriors accomplish their goal too which is to win. Again, Ben Simmons is not going anywhere so in-steps Al Horford who fits Golden State’s offense like a glove. The versatile center can help defend the dominant bigs the west has to offer, the likes of Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, and Rudy Gobert. He can space the floor, pass the rock, even rebound when he feels like it. He may not look like much to Sixers fans but Al Horford has value to the right team and the Warriors are one of the best fits. They also manage to grab a shooter in Korkmaz and what may end up as a key cog of the deal, Terence Davis. An undrafted free agent, Davis has quickly shown that he belongs in the NBA. It will be interesting to see where his career goes from here.
Finally, the Sixers bring home their new point guard in Kyle Lowry. Lowry would slide in to the point with Ben Simmons moving to more of a LeBron James role (something that could be considered). Lowry would add some extra scoring along with tenacious defense and fierce leadership. Something similar to what Jimmy Butler provided but that wouldn’t make Simmons feel redundant. Hopefully Simmons will also be mature enough to listen to someone other than LeBron for once.
All three teams get what they need out of this trade, the Raptors draft Ball, become younger, and remain competitive. The Warriors launch their way back to contender status (not that they needed Horford for that) and add a couple young pieces in Korkmaz, Davis, and whomever they draft with the Sixers’ pick. And the Sixers also become more competitive and a better fit for the playoffs, while adding a player who can help grow the locker-room.
Mandatory Credit: Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports