2020 NBA Trade Deadline Primer: Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers NBA playoffs

Getty Philadelphia 76ers teammates Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris

The Philadelphia 76ers made major moves over the last year, swapping role players, prospects and picks for stars at last season’s trade deadline and then swapping those stars for other players in free agency over the summer.

The team is reportedly “at the front” of the line to re-acquire Robert Covington, who spent five of his first six NBA seasons in Philadelphia. Minnesota is reportedly looking for two first-round picks for the wing.

With the trade deadline approaching which players could the Sixers trade away in the hope of acquiring a piece that helps them achieve their ultimate goal: bringing a championship to South Philadelphia.


  • Joel Embiid
  • Ben Simmons

The Joel Embiid-Ben Simmons pairing has always been a bit awkward, however, as I wrote for SLAM Magazine, it’s unlikely that the team trades either player. However, it would be so interesting to see a team truly built around either All-Star.

The Intriguing Prospect

  • Zhaire Smith

It’s not clear what the Sixers plan is before the deadline. The team could look to move one of their core pieces if it is believed the fit between all of the veterans will always be lacking. More likely, the team will dangle Zhaire Smith in trades in hopes of luring a team into believing in his upside.

Teams around the league are bearish on the 2018 No. 16 overall pick, though he is only 20-years-old and could further develop.

Doing Something About Buyers Remorse

  • Al Horford

The team signed Al Horford to a four-year, $109M deal over the summer. The hope was Horford would allow the team to give Embiid proper rest while also giving him a floor-spacing frontcourt partner.

The experiment hasn’t worked out as well as the Sixers had hoped. The former Hawk and Celtic is still adjusting to playing his role for the team, playing alongside Embiid when he plays and replacing the All-Star center when he doesn’t.

Due to Horford’s age and length of contract, the team may not be able to get major assets in return should they trade the 33-year-old. However, if the team is reasonable with its expectations, it could trade away Horford and re-balance the team.

Trades Are Possible

  • Tobias Harris
  • Josh Richardson
  • Mike Scott
  • Matisse Thybulle
  • James Ennis
  • Jonah Bolden
  • Raul Neto
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Furkan Korkmaz
  • Trey Burke
  • Shake Milton

Tobias Harris, who sits 12th in the league in defensive win shares, is in the first year of a five-year, $180M deal. Trading him doesn’t seem likely at the moment. Josh Richardson came to the team in the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade. He’s currently sidelined with a hamstring injury. Mike Scott’s three-point percentage took a dip this season, dropping from .401 in the 2018-19 campaign to .325 this season. One of the positives about Scott is that he’s so careful with the ball, he ranks second in the league in turnover percentage. Matisse Thybulle probably should have been included in the Rising Stars challenge. The 2019 No. 20 overall pick has proven to be a  performer. He’s 14th in the league in steals despite seeing just over 800 minutes to date.

James Ennis took a team-friendly, two-year deal to return to Philadelphia. Because of the player option on that deal, he has the right to veto any trade, as Hoops Rumors’ ledger shows. Jonah Bolden has seen just 14 minutes of action this year. His contract for next season is non-guaranteed. Raul Neto joined the Sixers on a one-year, veteran minimum deal back in July and has had some nice games this season. Kyle O’Quinn and Trey Burke each also joined the Sixers on a veteran minimum deal. Neither has had a consistent role. Furkan Korkmaz surprisingly re-signed with the Sixers over the summer. He’s made 38.4% of his three-pointers this season, proving to be an important piece of the team. Shake Milton has been forced into action lately. He’s played in 17 games for this club. The second-year shooting guard has improved his three-point shooting to .348, up from his .318 as a rookie.

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