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With four weeks to go until the NBA trade deadline, the Philadelphia 76ers sit in an interesting position. Currently positioned as the fourth team in the east, general manager Elton Brand doesn’t need to make a major move.
That being said, trading for a solid shooting front court player would solve a lot of this teams ill heading into the second half of the season.
Trading for Jimmy Butler was a great move. He gives this team a tough, solid scoring player that has no problem stepping up in the big moment. Either by taking the last shot or locking down the other teams best perimeter player, Butler can get it done on both ends.
With gaining Butler, Philadelphia lost All-NBA defender Robert Coivington and a versatile four man in Dario Saric. Neither one is a player of Jimmy Butler’s caliber but both contributed in areas that have plagued this team so far since their departure. Frontcourt depth, three-point shooting and rebounding have been the weakness of this 76ers’ team since the Butler trade.
Head coach Brett Brown has used Wilson Chandler in the starting lineup at the four spot to help alleviate this somewhat. However that is hurting their bench depth, leaving the rotation in flux with only Mike Muscala getting the majority of the minutes in the frontcourt with the second unit. Another trade might address this imbalance.
Looking at the 76ers’ assets they have a ton of future draft picks they could use to possibly build around Markelle Fultz.
Teams are interested in Fultz. According to Keith Pompey of The Inquirer, the only thing holding this thing back is the Sixers’ guard and his representation being truthful on his return from injury.
A change of scenery maybe good for Fultz, as he and Philadelphia can’t seem to figure whats going on with his shooting struggles. Some think his shoulder and wrist causing his strange shooting motions, others think its just a mental block. Whatever it is Philadelphia isn’t the place to figure it out. The Sixers are built to win now, and they’re a move or two away from possibly claiming a title in the next couple of years. They simply can’t hold onto Fultz when that roster spot could be used for a player that could contribute towards that goal. The Sixers don’t need to make a move but they probably should.
With that in mind, here are five trade possibilities involving Fultz for the Sixers at the deadline:
Trey Lyles, Denver Nuggets, Forward: Lyles’ name has come up in trade discussions lately with the Denver Nuggets. Trading for Lyles would benefit both teams. For the Sixers, it gives them the perfect small ball four that could give this team a ton of new looks with his skill set. Right now Denver has a ton of front court depth and could use the draft picks. Also getting Fultz would be a plus for Denver while its backcourt depth has been hampered by injury. Both players are also on rookie deals so it shouldn’t have an effect on either team’s cap space.
Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns, Forward/Guard: Josh Jackson seems to be in the same boat as Fultz. Neither can seem to find their footing with either team that has drafted them. Jackson has struggled early on but has seemed to be picking up steam, getting minutes while Devin Booker is out. Jackson has great size at 6’8 and elite athleticism allowing him to play multiple positions. This could be a blessing for Fultz. He goes to a world-class medical staff in Phoenix. Not to mention they are desperate to find a point guard. Once healthy, Fultz could form deadly trio between himself, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.
Johnathan Simmons, Orlando Magic, Forward/Guard: Simmons showed early promise when he first got to Orlando but now has seemed to fall out of favor with the team. On a relatively low contract, Simmons may be what the Sixers need coming off the bench: a young veteran player that can come in provide solid defense, scoring and rebounding. Not to mention Simmons has playoff experience from his time in San Antonio. Orlando needs help at the guard spot and could use a player like Fultz.
Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers, Forward/Guard: This is a perfect pairing for both teams. The Cavs get a young guard that can score and would add to their backcourt depth. After the Patrick Mcaw deal went sideways, Cleveland is doing theit best to address their lack of consistent play from their backcourt. Cleveland can take their time in getting Fultz healthy since they’re trying to get a number one pick in this year’s draft. Philadelphia is getting instant offense off the bench. Osman is very versatile on the offensive wing and can hold his own on the defense. At 6’8 he has the skill set to play any position on the floor.
Frank Kaminsky, Charlotte Hornets, Center/Forward: Charlotte has clearly moved on from the stretch big and have been reported to have put Kaminsky on the block. Kaminsky could get the minutes if Philadelphia could work out a deal. Frank can play either big position being a solid rebounder and floor spacer. Pairing frank with Joel Embiid some nights would give teams’ front courts fits. Kaminsky’s shooting presence would allow Embiid to get his points from the mid-range or inside, which is something that he has openly talked about wanting to get back to.