James Harden, still talking about Daryl Morey, goes on record about a ‘promised max contract’ from the Sixers
Remember James Harden? In a recent interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic, he was…
After four months of yet another drama-filled Philadelphia 76ers offseason, James Harden has finally left the city of Philadelphia in a massive trade that sent him to the Los Angeles Clippers.
While the players acquired in the trade may not look like an equal return for a player like James Harden, the expiring contracts and draft picks gained by the Sixers have set themselves up for the future after being stuck in what was basically salary cap and draft pick hell over the past few seasons.
The 76ers are projected to have $56 million in cap space in 2024 after unloading PJ Tucker and James Harden’s salaries, along with additional players (Tobias Harris) and newly acquired Clippers players also coming off the books after this season.
All the contracts the 76ers are receiving are expiring and do not impact their cap flexibility in 2024-25.
Note: Martin is an unrestricted free agent and Philadelphia will inherit his bird rights. He’s really the only player of value the Sixers received in the Harden trade.
Still, I know Sixers fans don’t want to think that far ahead and would rather see what can be made of this season now and all of the sudden, that has become a legitimate possibility.
As a result of this trade, the Sixers can now offer up to three first-round picks, four-second-round picks, and three first-round pick swaps in potential trade packages.
It’s no secret that the Chicago Bulls have been listening to trade offers for Zach LaVine over the past few seasons. LaVine is in year two of a 5-year contract he signed with the Bulls ahead of the 2022-23 season. He has a player option in 2026 and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2027.
Over his career, LaVine has averaged 20.5 points per game with four rebounds and four assists while shooting 46% from the floor and 38% from three point range. This season, he’s averaging 24.5 points per game and scored 51 points last Saturday against Detroit.
The Sixers now have the assets to acquire a player like Zach LaVine and would likely be able to move Tobias Harris, a player the Bulls would likely consider given the fact that he’s an expiring contract at the end of this season.
The only concern I would have about this is that LaVine doesn’t provide much on defense and he may not be the best pairing on that end of the court with Tyrese Maxey. However, with Nick Nurse running the show in Philly, there’s hope that this could be an area of improvement for LaVine, who already has the ability to score at high volumes on his resume.
Anunoby would immediately become one of the most targeted players if he were to become available via trade. His fit on both ends of the court for any team in the league would make him so sought after. It becomes exciting with the Raptor’s new direction and whether or not they will re-sign both Anunoby and Siakam.
Anunoby is eligible for an extension of up to four years, $116,9 million, which gives him an annual salary of $29.2 million. With that said, the Sixers could sign him outright, although they will be competing with plenty of other teams in free agency, and a trade could make the situation all that much better. It’s worth noting that Nurse’s past with the Raptors could sway a potential deal.
Pascal Siakam was in all sorts of trade rumors during the offseason. The early outlook for the Raptors this season is not great (1-3) and could push Siakam and other veterans on the team to want out. His familiarity with Nick Nurse and fellow Cameroonian Joel Embiid could be a factor here as well.
In this scenario, if we’re talking about a trade, the Sixers would send Tobias Harris, who plays the same position. I don’t love this option, nor do I see how it makes the Sixers all that much better. Both players are similar, but I see how Siakam could improve the Sixers’ defense over Tobias. Still, I don’t love Siakam’s fit here in Philly due to his lackluster perimeter shooting, but I could see a world where it works.
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There are a few other players the Sixers could target via trade this season heading into the deadline. Jerami Grant is a name that’s floated around, but I don’t see how he’s an upgrade over Tobias.
Demar Derozan of the Bulls is another candidate, but he’s another player similar to Harris in that he’s a ball-dominant scorer with an inconsistent three-point shot.
It’s the NBA, so you never know who could become available; luckily for the Sixers, they have the ammunition to make things happen now, whether that’s adding another star-level player alongside Maxey and Embiid or bringing in more depth pieces.
Mandatory Credit: Associated Press