The Sixers have been linked to many stars this offseason, but they should consider thinking outside the box if they can’t land their prize.
At the tip of everyone’s tongue are Ben Simmons’ trade talks and the reasons are understandable. Considering how the postseason ended, the team certainly posed for some major changes that will likely start with Ben Simmons, but what if they didn’t?
What if the Sixers decided to give Simmons one more chance but still felt that change was needed? Well, Joel Embiid certainly wouldn’t be moved, so that leaves Tobias Harris. Harris has been a crucial member of the team on the court, off the court, and in the community.
The decision to trade Harris wouldn’t be an easy one, but it could prove to be the correct one depending on the return.
All The Sense In The World
Many have linked the Sixers to the Blazers already, specifically CJ McCollum. Typically, it’s Ben Simmons involved in a deal for McCollum, but Harris makes more sense for both sides in a deal for McCollum.
The Blazers are able to keep another high-powered source of offense, one that is also a better positional fit. Assuming the Blazers resign Norman Powell (they likely will), they’d boast a lineup of:
|Damian Lillard||Norman Powell||Robert Covington||Tobias Harris||Jusuf Nurkić|
That lineup would be the best of the entire Damian Lillard era. The Blazers (if they plan on keeping Dame) will need to undergo a remodel, and adding Harris would be the perfect addition.
The Sixers, meanwhile, get their shot-creating guard, a true bucket-getter. McCollum paired with Embiid would be a nightmare scenario for opposing defenses. A true sniper, McCollum isn’t just a high-percentage shooter but a high-volume shooter, which the Sixers need.
McCollum averaged 8.9 attempted threes per game (while shooting 40.4%) to Harris’ 3.4 attempts (who shot 39.4%). That type of volume could exponentially help a team that ranked 26th in the league in attempted threes per game.
CJ McCollum would be a great fit in Philly, just maybe not in a deal for Ben Simmons.
Cavs Show Philly Some Love
Not too many are showing Philly much love right about now, but the Cleveland Cavaliers can change that in one swift deal. Two things Cleveland has made clear, they’re looking to trade Kevin Love AND Collin Sexton. The thought makes sense in both cases: Love, aging stretch forward who is considered to have one of the worst contracts in the league, and Sexton, a young guard who, while talented, is one who many teams openly consider a future sixth-man more than starter material.
The Cavs are clearly tired of being in the lottery and are looking to make a move. If the team could form its roster around Garland, Harris, Jarrett Allen, and whomever they obtain with the third pick (and possibly Isaac Okoro), then they have a shot at a quick resolution to their rebuild.
The Sixers, meanwhile, would be banking on a Kevin Love revival, but in a winning environment, we may see a return of the floor-stretching double-double machine we’ve seen in the past. He will never be the Timberwolves’ Kevin Love or the LeBron-era Kevin Love, but there is a chance in the right circumstance that Love could be a useful starter turned eventual living trade exception.
The true prize here is Collin Sexton, who provides scoring from the perimeter, is a solid outside shooter, and a decent creator. Maybe he’s never going to be an All-Star, but he could provide the fit Embiid and Simmons need alongside each other. He’s only 22 years young, and there’s plenty of reason to believe that the best is yet to come.
Simmons For Lowry?
What would a Sixers trade conversation be without Ben Simmons? Simmons would be a surprisingly good fit in Denver alongside Nikola Jokic. He could anchor the team’s defense, and he and Jokic would compliment each other in the passing game. But why would Denver move Murray?
Recently ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggested on his podcast that Denver may fear that they may: “waste a year of Nikola Jokic’s prime waiting for Jamal Murray to recover…” It’s purely speculative and quite the thought, but it makes plenty of sense.
Murray was diagnosed with a tore his ACL on April 13th of this year. According to BetterBraces.com: “the rehabilitation process can take anywhere from six to 12 months.” splitting that down the middle, Murray could potentially return to the court around mid-January which is about three months into the regular season. Typically, the first season back is at far less than full strength, and it’s the next year the player truly hopes to return to form (likely 75-95%). The Nuggets may not be willing to wait, but the Toronto Raptors likely are.
The Raptors currently hold the fourth pick in the 2021 NBA draft. They’re in a bit of an odd spot this offseason as they’re a better team than they played last year but are likely losing their star point guard Kyle Lowry. The team would be better off trading for Murray, giving him the whole season off, tanking for one season, and collecting likely a top-five pick the following season.
For Philadelphia, they would finally land Kyle Lowry and would also gain his partner in crime, Fred VanVleet. The Scoring ability of that Sixers team would be leaps and bounds above where it’s been in the past, and the Sixers wouldn’t need to break the bank to get there. Simmons, Hill, and a first should certainly get it done.
While they may look like they’re attempting to copy the 2019 Toronto Raptors, that’s not a bad thing. While Lowry and VanVleet have aged since then, their fit with Harris and Embiid (and possibly Danny Green) is certainly clear. The Sixers could have a title contender on their hands without compromising their future.