Instant analysis: Sixers dump Al Horford’s salary in trade with Thunder

NBA: MAR 01 76ers at Clippers
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 01: Philadelphia 76ers Guard Shake Milton (18) celebrates with Philadelphia 76ers Forward Al Horford (42) during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers on March 1, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

After months and months of speculation, the Philadelphia 76ers have finally found a way out of Al Horford‘s contract. Orchestrated by recently hired President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey, the Sixers have traded Horford and two draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Despite Horford still holding some name value around the league as a “savvy veteran”, this move is very much a salary dump when it comes to the Sixers. They were desperate to get out of the remaining three years on Horford’s contract, and attaching a first and second-round pick was likely the only way to convince OKC to take the money on.

The Sixers will send over a lightly protected 2025 first-round pick, pick #34 in tonight’s draft, and the rights to 26-year-old Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic. Losing the early second-round pick during this year’s draft hurts a tad, as it was expected to be a deep second-round class. However, that’s still ultimately a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.

On top of landing veteran shooting guard Danny Green, the Sixers will also see themselves acquire 22-year-old G/F Terrance Ferguson. Green is a career 40% shooter from beyond the arc, and Ferguson has shown bursts of bench potential in the past.

Horford struggled mightily during his first year with the Sixers, seeing a majority of his averages dip to near career lows. Most importantly, Joel Embiid’s and Ben Simmons’ effectiveness dipped monumentally when playing alongside Horford. While it stings to lose assets in a trade like this, the move should in theory provide some sense of “addition by subtraction”.

Moving off of Horford’s insane contract was the most challenging aspect of Daryl Morey’s job this offseason, and he did so without losing too much in the process. Landing Green back in the trade is a decent sweetener as well, as he can provide some much-needed floor spacing to a shooter-needy Sixers squad.

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire