Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is a mad scientist, a tinkerer, a hoops scholar who never stops experimenting. Thus far in his career, he’s yet to reach the pinnacle, and his latest shortcoming should only give him more reason to deconstruct the roster and assess the pieces like Tony Stark upgrading his Iron Man suit.
This offseason presents Morey with both his most talented roster since at least the 2018 Western Conference Finalist Houston Rockets and his toughest challenge. In their current situation, the Sixers have a handful of needs to address and few avenues to do so.
Once James Harden either picks up his player option or signs an extension with the team, Philadelphia will be well over the salary cap. In the upcoming draft, they hold just one selection with the 23rd-overall pick. That leaves Morey with one rookie acquisition, veteran minimum deals, and the taxpayer midlevel exception to try to improve the roster.
Of course, he can also try to acquire more talent via trade. With Harden, the Sixers have 13 players on the roster for next season. Danny Green, Isaiah Joe, Shake Milton, Paul Reed, and Charles Bassey are all non-guaranteed but should expect to be in the league next year unless Morey brings in a cache of ring-chasing veterans to bolster the bench. Even if their futures aren’t with the Sixers, though, each player holds value as a trade asset and could be seen in a deal this offseason.
Here’s how much weight each Philadelphia 76er would hold in a trade negotiation in tiers:
The 2021-2022 NBA MVP runner-up is the heart and soul of the Sixers, as well as the unquestioned best player on the team. Dubbed “the Process,” Embiid is the culmination of all of the pain and losing that the Sixers and their fans had to endure to secure a player of his caliber. So long as he’s healthy, Philadelphia is never more than a stone’s throw away from title contention.
Still only 28 years old, the All-NBA big continues to add to his game. As one of the few players who has an argument to be the greatest talent in the league, there’s no reason Embiid would be traded unless it’s his demand.
- Tyrese Maxey
The second-year guard proved to be a legitimate force and one of the brightest young stars in the league in his sophomore campaign. In 2021-2022, Maxey averaged 17.5 points and 4.3 assists on 49 percent shooting from the field, 43 from deep, and 87 from the stripe. He’s one of the most efficient volume scorers at his position and won’t turn 22 until November.
He continued his meteoric rise into the postseason and even elevated his play under the brighter lights of the playoffs. Through 12 games, he put up 20.8 points while maintaining his consistent shooting marks by slashing 48/38/94.
There are very few players that are truly untouchable in this league, but Maxey is borderline on that level. Embiid’s age and injury history have to be taken into consideration, which makes Maxey attainable for a literal king’s ransom but nothing less. Negotiations would begin at an established All-Star — something like Maxey for Bradley Beal straight up, and honestly, that might not even be enough for Morey to pull the trigger.
Despite what reactionaries and NBA twitter say, James Harden is still one of the most valuable players in the league. While some of his otherworldly scoring talents have come closer to the Earth’s atmosphere, he remains one of the most dangerous offensive engines on a basketball court.
Even in a down year, the Beard averaged 18.6 points and 8.6 assists to go along with 41/37/89 shooting splits in the Sixers’ playoff run. As he gets healthier, more in shape, and more accustomed to his teammates and new system, Harden should quickly establish himself as one of the NBA’s apex predators next season. The only reasons he’s a notch below Maxey in trade value are due to his price tag, age, and mileage.
Valuable Veteran/First-Round Pick
The defensive specialist’s trade value could significantly tank if he fails to take strides on offense in his fourth year, but for now, his stellar point-of-attack coverage and remaining potential keep him a commodity in any trade.
One of the most gifted scorers in the league, Harris also proved to be a decent two-way player in his latest playoff appearance. A wing with size who can put up 18-25 points on any given night while contributing on defense is nothing to scoff at. His egregious $37+ million cap hit certainly lowers his value, but it does expire at the end of the 2023-2024 season, making him reasonably easy to move for a decent return.
Danny Green, Georges Niang
Reliable role players who can be trusted in the postseason aren’t easy to find. Both Green and Niang should crack any team’s playoff rotation and should command at least a late first-rounder in any negotiation.
Intriguing Young Players
The 28th-overall pick in last year’s draft, the former Tennessee Volunteer didn’t receive an opportunity to really raise or lower his value last season, as he saw just six minutes of time on an NBA court. He did showcase some things with the Delaware Blue Coats, though, and should still hold a borderline first-round pick value.
It took everything in my power not to mark BBall Paul as untouchable.
Bubble Shake forever, baby.
Furkan Korkmaz, Isaiah Joe, Charles Bassey
This entire section could change from one day to the next. Daryl Morey might have one hand tied behind his back due to the Sixers’ salary cap table, but he could get pretty creative in the trade market. I would expect at least one trade to go down before the 2022-2023 regular season tips off and probably another before February’s deadline.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire