NBA Trade Rumors: 6 players (and one team) that will dictate deadline day

NBA Golden State Warriors Andre Iguodala . (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
NBA Golden State Warriors Andre Iguodala . (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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NBA Philadelphia 76ers
NBA Philadelphia 76ers Brett Brown (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Philadelphia 76ers

Fresh off a drubbing at the hands of the Heat, the 76ers need to do something. Once viewed as one of the ironclad title contenders, they’ve scuffled to a 31-20 record. This isn’t what anyone envisioned for this team when they made their flurry of offseason moves to drastically re-shape the roster.

The main culprit for their less-than-stellar performance is what many thought it would be before the season began: shooting. There aren’t really any plus 3-point shooters in their current starting group – Tobias Harris is the best of the bunch, at 34.5 percent – which feels like it shouldn’t be allowed. They zigged where the rest of the league has zagged, prioritizing size over outside shooting. Early returns would suggest that was a mistake, as the loss of J.J. Redick probably stings now more than they thought it would.

But are they really going to acquire anyone at this year’s deadline who could step in for any of their current starters? Maybe Josh Richardson could shift to a 6th man role. The problem is he’s their main answer defensively for the Kyries and the Trae Youngs of the world. They’re currently staring at a first-round matchup with the Raptors, who possess two tricky, elusive guards in Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry.

They’ll need Richardson in that matchup. Another issue: They don’t possess many contracts that fit nicely into a trade. Richardson makes $10 million, making him the prime candidate to facilitate any potential deal. But, as we’ve discussed, he’s too important to give up, unless they’re acquiring a substantial upgrade.

They should be looking to upgrade the spots that Mike Scott and James Ennis currently occupy in their rotation. Scott’s career-best shooting from last season hasn’t carried over to this one, while Ennis’s skills are largely redundant with the addition of Matisse Thybulle.

They should definitely check in on the availability of Davis Bertans, but I suspect the asking price will be too high. Some more realistic targets: Langston Galloway, Reggie Bullock or Glenn Robinson III. These might not be the sexiest names but they can threaten teams from deep, and more importantly, open up the floor for Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Galloway and Robinson are both shooting better than 40 percent from long range this year on decent volume. Bullock is slumping on a miserable Knicks team, but he’s at 38.7 percent for his career and has a track record as a guy that teams have to respect from behind the line.

It’s always fun to think about bigger deals involving either Simmons or Embiid, but there’s almost no chance (never say never) that they split up these two before seeing what they can accomplish in these playoffs. I’ve seen people dream up an Embiid deal that brings back Paul George, and although that may make both teams a little scarier, it’s not going to happen, at least not this week.