NBA Trade Deadline 2021: A Roundtable Discussion

Daryl Morey is approaching his first trade deadline in Philadelphia. The trade winds have swirled around ever since Morey was hired. The Seth Curry and Danny Green trades energized the fanbase after a lethargic playoff sweep. The James Harden saga constantly featured the Sixers and a hometown hero’s potential availability headlines the team’s deadline hopes. With the most anticipated day of the regular season approaching, here are some thoughts from the Last Out Staff on the big day.

What are your expectations as the deadline approaches?  

Jason Timperley (@jason_timperley)- I expect Daryl to make some minor moves to improve the rotation. I doubt we will see any seismic changes as their doesn’t appear to be any big stars (Bradley Beal or Zach Lavine level) available. They could package together the expiring contracts of Mike Scott, Bradley, Ferguson and Poirier along with draft picks (and possibly Tyrese Maxey) to get a rotation player from the group of Evan Fournier, Eric Gordon, Will Barton, Terrence Ross, Lonzo Ball, George Hill or Delon Wright. 

I would love Kyle Lowry on the team, but any trade to get him would likely mean the Sixers would also have to give up Danny Green (as well as Maxey, a first round pick and matching expiring contracts) which would leave another hole to fill in the rotation.

The Sixers also have the $8.2m traded player exception from the Al Horford trade. I think they should try to chase either JaMychal Green from Denver (especially if the Nuggets get Aaron Gordon from the Magic) or Nemanja Bjelica to play the stretch four role off the bench

Rob Manoff (@manoffrm)- I have little expectations to be honest. I do expect them to bring in another ball handler and maybe a stretch 4/5. But overall my expectations for a lot of moves or a big move is pretty minimal.

Dan Morgan (@DanSaysThat)- I expect the Sixers to, for the most part, keep the roster intact. I do not think that names such as Lowry, Ball, Fournier, and Oladipo find their way here unfortunately. I do think they will go get one if not both of: an extra guard off the bench (George Hill/Delon Wright) and an upgrade to the Mike Scott role (Nemanja Bjelica, Larry Nance Jr.)  

Matthew Maratea (@mmaratea22)- I expect the Sixers to do nothing or next to nothing at the deadline. The team is playing so well and feels so different from a talent and maturity standpoint I think it is best to hold firm. 

A.J. Iezzi (@AJ_Iez)- I think there’s a dialogue to be had about a Lowry trade, but I don’t think it gets to the point where Lowry and Ujiri agree they’re better off without each other. I think Morey focuses on less splashy moves and shores up the playoff rotation. I think fans expecting homeruns will be disappointed.

Austin Krell (@NBAKrell)-  I expect it to be much less active than what everyone expects. I think a lot of teams are hesitant to make ground-shaking moves this season because of how disruptive and unpredictable this season has been and will continue to be. Teams in that 8-12 range in their respective conferences may feel like they have something to play for with the play-in games. My guess is there’s one significant move, and a number of deals involving players that don’t have the gravity to impact their new teams’ respective floors or ceilings.

Who is your top realistic target ?  

J.T.- Evan Fournier – he has a bit of shot creation, good shooter, and enough size on the wing position that he is not a complete liability on the defensive end. He should be able to be re-signed at a decent number (circa $20m per season) in the offseason.

R.M.- Realistically, it’s the Goerge Hill, Delon Wright, Bjelica, guys like that are probably the most realistic. I would say Oladipo could be somewhat realistic, and I don’t believe that Kyle Lowry is completely out of the picture. 

D.M.- Despite my opinion that he does not end up here, it’s definitely Kyle Lowry. I do not believe names like Bradley Beal or Zach Lavine end up moving, but I do think Lowry ends up either in Philly, Miami, or LA. Lowry will cost a lot, but his value in the postseason and in crunch time cannot be stressed enough. The biggest detriment is that it likely requires Danny Green to move, who’s veteran presence and postseason resume are also incredibly valuable.

M.M.-Bogdan Bogdanovic. The team is short a goofy Euro player (not counting Furky from Turkey) and he fits the Sixers need for another good shooter off the bench. I won’t turn down 43% from the floor and 37% from 3 for the right price. 

A.J.I.- The Spurs are known for virtually never doing trades mid-season, but I would love Patty Mills. He can play either guard spot and is a knockdown shooter. Mills would be really useful when Curry is slumping or off the floor and can lead the offense to move Shake Milton off the ball. He may not be “available”, but I think there’s a potential deal worth pursuing. As for wings, I would welcome Terrence Ross or Norman Powell. They’re instant offense and much less of a defensive liability than Furkan Korkmaz.

A.K.-  As the rumors swirl, it would seem that Kyle Lowry is a very realistic option for Philadelphia. But, we’ll know just how serious they are soon enough.

What type of player do the Sixers need most ? (Pure point/stretch big/etc..)  

J.T.-The Sixers have a few needs, the primary need is a perimeter initiator. This player could be a pure point, or a combo guard/wing with some creation skills but the must be a plus shooter. They could also stand to upgrade the backup four position (Mike Scott), ideally a stretch big that could also man the five in lineups with Simmons, when Embiid is on the bench. 

R.M.- PG or wing. Anyone that can handle the ball with the second unit. 

D.M.- They need a player who can run the point in the final four minutes of a close game. Therefore, Lowry must be the top option. Ben Simmons has continued to show growth to his game, but not in the type of half-court offense that wins championships. Lowry would be lethal in the pick-and-roll, as well as able to set up drive and kicks, make the right passes, and pull up from three. He is the final piece to unlock a potentially unstoppable Sixers’ offense.

M.M,- They need a gunner. Think Marco Belinelli but able to play 15 to 20 minutes a night without being a disaster on defense. 

A.J.I- A ball handler that’s capable of getting hot from beyond the arc.

A.K.- The answer is as it always has been for this team. A shot-creating ball-handler to facilitate offense in crunch time. I think a stretch big would also solve a number of the problems that arise with Embiid off the court, but you can never have enough shot-creating ball-handlers with 40% three-point prowess in the playoffs.

Are there marginal moves that could make you feel better about a potential Brooklyn series ?

J.T.- All of the above would help in a Brooklyn series. We need all the good players that we can get. 

R.M.- Yes and no. A back up PG that can shoot a little would help or a shooter like Wayne Ellington off the bench will help, but ultimately, how Joel Ben and Tobias play will drive that series. 

D.M.- I already am more than comfortable with a Brooklyn series. Even with the reasons I’ve stated we need Kyle Lowry, if there’s a team you actually don’t have to worry as much about those issues, it’s Brooklyn. Brooklyn cannot defend anyone, and they have no answer for Joel Embiid. I would be much more worried about the issues with the late game half-court offense in matchups against Milwaukee, Miami, and many of the potential contenders who could come out of the west.

M.M.-  Other than adding a shooter I like their chances against Brooklyn. The Sixers are a complete team and the Nets are a patchwork of crazy.

A.J.I- With PJ Tucker off the board, George Hill comes to mind. He’s a boost on both sides of the ball and someone I’d trust to guard Kyrie Ivring. There are two wings in Morey’s former residence I would happily take; Danuel House Jr. and David Nwaba. Both can hold their own on defense and knock down open jumpers. A lineup full of guards + Blake Griffin could potentially run Dwight Howard off the floor. Finding a five-man quicker than Dwight or another wing that could make Simmons at the five feasible, would go a long way to competing with the Nets. Beating Brooklyn will come down to muddying up games and being physical. You can’t fight fire with fire when they can drop 140 on any given night.

A.K.-  I think my biggest point against the Sixers trading for Kyle Lowry is that I don’t believe there’s a trade out there that makes them a decisive favorite in the East. If I feel that way about Lowry, I don’t think there’s a player around the league that is feasibly available and moves the needle quite like he would.

Do you have any buyout targets ?

J.T.- I think a guy like Gorgui Dieng might be ok as a third string center if the Sixers end up trading Tony Bradley at the deadline. Dieng can shoot a little from three and could be that stretch five with Simmons in the lineup. Tony Snell could be a possibility as well of course as JJ Redick or Bjelica in the unlikely event that they are not traded before the deadline

R.M.- JJ Reddick I think will be a buy out target. DJ Augustine just got traded to the Rockets, if he is bought out I would take interest. Regardless in general, buy out guys don’t really move the needle too much on most championship teams. 

D.M.-  JJ Redick would be an incredible add. Consider him in the Furkan role, as well as creating more room for someone like Shake to operate, as well as his incredible chemistry with Embiid. I do not imagine Otto Porter Jr. ends up being bought out, but if he does, he would also be an appealing option.

M.M.- I like their locker room so much I’d be very hesitant to even use it. 

A.J.I- JJ Redick, Austin Rivers, Wayne Ellington, Otto Porter Jr.

A.K.- JJ Redick would be an excellent pick-up for the second unit if he becomes available via buyout. It would certainly build some more good will with Joel Embiid, and it would be another vet with experience under Rivers’ system. The team lacks a sniper capable of heating up to burning degrees, and he could single-handedly improve the team’s overall three-point output on a nightly basis. There are a number of games Philly loses where you just look at the box score and think ‘if only they made one or two more threes’. While Redick isn’t the impact player that adds five or six wins, he can make the difference in a couple of those close games. Those compound, and can shift the standings for Philly as the season draws to a close.

What is your biggest deadline fear ?

J.T.- The biggest fear is they stand pat and let the Green, Scott, Ferguson, Bradley and Poirier contracts expire. Next year they would only have the taxpayer midlevel exception on no tradeable contracts on the roster to try to improve the team. I would also be fearful of giving up too many assets for Victor Oladipo and be forced to overpay to re-sign him.

R.M.- No fear. Morey has earned my trust to make moves that balance now and the future. If there is a fear it would be that Kyle Lowry ends up in Miami. 

D.M.- My fear does not reside with the Sixers themselves, as I honestly believe this team as constructed can matchup with every team in the league. The fear lies in the unknown of what the other teams may do to improve. The Nets seem like the hot target for any buyout vet to go ring hunting, and if they do not even have to give anything up to acquire guys like Andre Drummond and JJ Redick, that could be problematic. Kyle Lowry heading to LA is also troublesome, so if he does not come home to Philly, I hope he remains in Toronto or heads to Miami.

M.M.- Sacrificing Maxey and his potential for a title run this year. This team is just entering a 3-4 year window and Maxey may not be a guy who moves the needle for them this year but next year he will. 

A.J.I- My biggest fear is Brooklyn and Milwaukee making upgrades via transactions, while the Sixers hope improvement comes internally. The Sixers are a fantastic basketball team but assuming this current roster doesn’t need some patchwork would be negligent. They have the top-tier talent to contend, but balancing out the roster is key.

A.K.- I think the Sixers are fine as they currently are. That isn’t me saying they’re good enough to win it all—I don’t have a verdict on that yet. But, they’re number 1 in the East as currently constructed. My fear, in that case, would be that the Nets, Bucks, and HEAT continue to get better while the Sixers do nothing. Obviously, all of those teams have new additions that theoretically make them better, but we’ll see. I suppose the regret you don’t want to have is doing nothing when all is said and done and then having it bite you. But, I don’t think the Sixers need to make a move just to make a move.

Final Predictions: (who will be the new Sixers?)

J.T.- I think George Hill and Nemanja Bjelica are the most likely. 

R.M.- Final and bold prediction is that Kyle Lowry and Wayne Ellington are your new 76ers post deadline. 

D.M.- The Sixers, with essentially the same current rotation less Mike Scott and Furkan Korkmaz, in six against a team from LA.

M.M.- There will be no new Sixers. 

A.J.I.- Austin Rivers, Ben McLemore, and JaMychal Green

A.K.-  I really have no idea. I think they’ll make a deal, but I don’t have any feeling as to what I think it is. My guess is they end up without Lowry, but add a stretchy big or some shooting around the margins. The thing that makes this regime more difficult to calculate is that they’re seasoned and more difficult to read than previous regimes were. We might just have to wait and see (and, yes, I’m aware that’s a cop-out).

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