The Philadelphia 76ers finally returned to the basketball court last night, beating the Washington Wizards…
The Sixers have been mentioned in various trade rumors since acquiring quite a haul of assets following the James Harden and PJ Tucker trade that sent both players to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The latest rumor, as reported by Shams Charania, is that Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine is open to the idea of being traded. As you would expect, there’s been a lot of chatter about the Sixers pursuing him but recent reports indicate that may not be the case.
According to Marc Stein, “Don’t look for Zach LaVine to wind up with the Sixers.”
Zach LaVine interest from the Philadelphia 76ers?
With all of that in mind, there’s no denying that LaVine is one of the most gifted scorers in the NBA. Since the start of the 2018-19 season, LaVine has averaged 25 points per game.
Certainly, a great player that most organizations would be ecstatic to have on their teams, right?
I mean who wouldn’t want a pure three-level threat to hit shots from all over the court, most notably his high-volume three-point shooting and his ability to finish at the rim?
Seems like a no brainer, however, I’m not completely sold on Zach LaVine.
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Without thinking too hard, adding LaVine to a team with Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid sounds unstoppable. How many times have we had this conversation before?
From Jimmy Butler to James Harden, and even some of the underwhelming “splash” moves Philly has made, even including Tobias Harris and even Al Horford, my concern is that the risks will yet again, far outweigh any rewards that LaVine can provide to this basketball team.
The problem with the Sixers trading for Zach Lavine
What are the risks, you may ask?
For one, the Sixers would most likely have to swap Tobias Harris due to his salary matching up with LaVine’s. Obviously, LaVine is the better player, but Harris is having a career year, and his contract will be coming off the books this offseason.
Meanwhile, LaVine still has four more years left on his deal. In that scenario, Philadelphia would have to be nearly certain that he catapults them into championship contention.
Again, I’m not denying that Lavine could help this team, but I’m just not sure he makes them that much better to justify adding him with four years left on his contract.
LaVine is a “score-first” player who would almost immediately demand the ball in his hands and take away shots from Maxey and Embiid.
Obviously, the concern there is stunting the growth of Tyrese Maxey, who has flourished as the Sixers’ primary ball handler in the early goings of the 2023-24 season.
Tyrese is almost six years younger than LaVine and is on the path to becoming one of the best point guards in the entire league. Do you really want to stunt the growth of your young guards by adding another ball-dominant player to the team?
There’s also the argument that most teams that acquire a player on the level of LaVine during the season almost never win the championship. That is due to the major chemistry hit that often takes place and so many moving parts most of the time.
By the way, the Sixers are still getting used to a brand new coach in Nick Nurse, which has been going phenomenal so far. Are we so sure LaVine even fits into Nurse’s system?
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My intentions weren’t to make this a LaVine “hate piece.” I just personally find myself completely bought into the new culture of the Sixers, and I just think there are far more other moves that could be made to actually increase their chances of winning the title, while also not mortgaging all of their assets.
Let the record show I wouldn’t necessarily hate them if they were able to acquire LaVine from the Bulls, I just wouldn’t love it.
This team is so fun currently because Embiid and Maxey are dominating, and we have a ton of size and versatility. This type of move would take away from that.
After all, isn’t the goal to take down the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks in the East? What is LaVine going to do when he’s matched up against guys like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Damian Lillard, and even Jrue Holiday? I mean, just look what Tyrese Haliburton and Obi Toppin did to us the other night.