Sixers trade talk: Five potential backcourt trade targets as 2024 begins

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Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) collects a pass as Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

Ahead of the 2024 NBA trade deadline, the Philadelphia 76ers are expected to be active once again in trade talks. While rumors have varied on what the Sixers will be searching for, varying from superstars to affordable role players, the desire for reinforcements in the backcourt has been as consistent as any other rumor.

Those rumors have been reinforced by a recent report by Brett Siegel of Clutch Points, who reported that the Sixers, Heat, Rockets, and Pelicans are among some of the teams expected to have interest in adding backcourt depth ahead of the deadline.

In preparation for that upcoming deadline, which will take place at 4:00 pm on Thursday, Feb 8, here are five potential backcourt trade candidates the Sixers could target:

Dejounte Murray

Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) collects a pass as Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

Sixers receive: Dejounte Murray, Saddiq Bey, and Garrison Mathews

Hawks receive: Marcus Morris, Jaden Springer, Kenyon Martin Jr., a 2026 first-round pick (via OKC), and a 2028 first-round pick (via LAC)

Much of the conversation around the Philadelphia 76ers looking for help in the backcourt has been in the context that the player they would pursue would be a complement off the bench. In Dejounte Murray, that is obviously not the case.

Murray may be the top name in regards to available ball-handlers, and as someone who has played both off and on-ball, he could provide not only a sorely needed skillset for Philadelphia but deliver in a versatile way, allowing some flexibility in Nick Nurse’s lineups.

Often mischaracterized as a strong on-ball defender, Murray is far more effective off-ball in a sort of De’Anthony Melton+ role. Effectively having an upgraded version of Melton in the starting lineup, plus the benefit of being able to play Melton off the bench would be a tremendous help to the Sixers if Murray is willing to work within his role.

Much of the issues between Murray and the Hawks has been the lack of fit in the offense alongside Trae Young. While the Sixers do not have that same type of ball-dominant guard, they do have plenty of touches already set between Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.

Murray is certainly a talent and will be sought after, but there is reason to be trepidatious.

Marcus Smart

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, left, drives past Memphis Grizzlies guard Marcus Smart (36) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Sixers receive: Marcus Smart and Jake LaRavia

Grizzlies receive: Marcus Morris, Jaden Springer., a 2024 second-round pick (via NYK), and a 2026 first-round pick (via OKC)

With the unfortunate news that Ja Morant will now miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum, the Memphis Grizzlies are once again at an impasse. Sitting on the season with a record of 13-23, which places them in the 13th spot of the Western Conference, the decision to tank will only become more enticing by the day.

The Grizzlies acquired Smart this past offseason to act as a filler of sorts until Morant’s initial return from his 50-game suspension to start the season. Now, in the face of a likely lost season, to maximize their potential tank, moving on from key veterans like Smart may prove warranted. Any interest in Smart changing teams is likely to come from outside of Memphis for the time being, but with the right amount of persuasion, the Grizzlies could be coerced into parting ways with the defensive-minded guard.

Smart is in the midst of a down season despite averaging 14.0 points and 4.5 assists. His shooting percentages have suffered greatly, partly as a result of the dearth of top-end talent in Memphis without Morant. While the Grizzlies are unlikely to be anxious to part with the veteran guard, it would be in the Sixers’ best interest as an organization to pursue him, should he become available.

Tyus Jones

Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) looks to pass the ball in front of Washington Wizards guard Tyus Jones (5) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Sixers receive: Tyus Jones and Corey Kispert

Wizards receive: Marcus Morris, Kenyon Martin Jr., and a 2026 first-round pick (via OKC)

Perhaps the top name on the reserve guard market, Tyus Jones is expected to have his fair share of suitors ahead of the trade deadline. Given their need for a player of Jones’ skillset, it’s not hard to envision the Sixers as one of those interested teams.

Jones is perennially one of the top backup point guards in the NBA. This year, in a starting role, Jones has continued to show off the traits that have made him a sought-after commodity for multiple seasons. This includes not only his ability as a facilitator and an occasional shot creator but as a quality shooting threat as well.

This season, Jones is shooting 42.5 percent on 3.5 attempts from deep. While it’s not on a significant volume, Jones’ efficiency from deep is quite the bonus from the backup floor general. It’s only compounded by his equally impressive efficiency from the floor, shooting 53.7 percent from the field.

Adding Corey Kispert into the deal would lessen the blow of moving on from a first-round pick and would fit within the Sixers’ plans of maintaining salary flexibility heading into 2024.

Delon Wright

Washington Wizards guard Delon Wright (55) shoots over Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony (50) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Sixers receive: Delon Wright and Anthony Gil

Wizards receive: Furkan Korkmaz, Danuel House, a 2024 second-round pick (via TOR, IND, UTA, or CLE)

Keeping things in Washington, there is another trade candidate who could fill a similar role, if not even more versatile, and could come at a significant discount compared to Jones. That player is the often underrated Delon Wright.

The 31-year-old guard out of Utah has been quite the journeyman over his nine-year career but has proven competent in three critical areas at every stop. Wright is a capable defender, playmaker, and shooter, three things the Sixers need, particularly in the backcourt.

Beyond Wright’s skill set, there is added value in his availability. In all likelihood, the ask for Washington’s expiring reserve would pale in comparison to that of Jones. While Wright is not as efficient as Jones in a number of different meanings, he still has strong value that he can supply to a contender.

With his deal set to expire after the year, the Wizards would be wise to get what they can while they can get it in relation to Wright. Adding a mid-second-round selection for a player they are set to lose anyway should only be seen as a win for Washington.

Monte Morris

Detroit Pistons coach Monty Williams reacts during a timeout in the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

Sixers receive: Monte Morris and Isaiah Livers

Pistons receive: Furkan Korkmaz, Danuel House, and a 2024 second-round pick (via NYK)

Another curious player who could be involved in the NBA trade market is Detroit Piston’s point guard Monte Morris. A reliable contributor in each of his six seasons in the NBA, Morris is more than adept for the task of running the Sixers’ secondary unit.

With career averages of 10.5 points and 4.0 assists per game, while shooting 39.2 percent from deep, Morris is the perfect offensive compliment, second only to Jones, off the pine for what Philadelphia needs.

The complication in Morris is that he has not played a single game for the Pistons this season due to a lingering quad injury. Back in November, Morris underwent platelet-rich plasma injections in his quad and is still on the mend, continuing to heal and rehab the injury.

At this rate, it’s fair to question if Morris plays at all this season, or at the very least, if he does, would he until the postseason? As concerning as that thought is, it could also potentially lower Detroit’s asking price. There is certainly much to consider regarding Morris.