Sixers Proposal Sees Team Sell High on Tyrese Maxey Amid De’Anthony Melton’s Rise

Tyrese Maxey Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Tyrese Maxey #0 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Here’s a question that might have seemed inconceivable just four weeks ago: do the Philadelphia 76ers really need Tyrese Maxey? Prior to his foot injury, Maxey had the potential to be Philadelphia’s brightest light on any night with the ability to erupt for 25-plus points. His defense was always well below average, but his electricity, youth, and charm were enough to mask that deficit.

And when Maxey went down with that foot injury, the Sixers were suddenly without both starting guards, as James Harden also limped off the court just a week before with his own ailment. The Sixers looked to De’Anthony Melton, who had come off the bench for Philadelphia prior to that point.

And neither Melton nor the Sixers have looked back since.

Melton’s meteoric rise, built on the back of 40% shooting from three and menacing defense, has led to questions about whether Philly will go to more three-guard sets. But in a trade proposed by NBA insider Bill Simmons, the Sixers wouldn’t have to weigh such issues, instead choosing to sell high on Maxey to land long-time target and superstar Bradley Beal from the Wizards.

“I wonder if there’s a Philly trade (with the Washington Wizards),” Simmons said on his podcast Tuesday. “This is a good ‘who says no’: Maxey and (Tobias) Harris for Beal. And I think Philly would say no, even though if I told you you could have (Joel) Embiid, Harden, and Beal on the same team a year ago, that would’ve seemed insane.”

Not only would that big three in Philadelphia have looked bonkers, but so too would the idea of selling Maxey, who’s been the subject of trade chatter going back to the summer.

Sixers’ Weighed Kevin Durant Trade Involving Maxey

At the end of the summer, the Sixers were once again linked to Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant.

“There is no doubt the Sixers have asked on Durant, they did in the summer, and will keep asking about him,” an Eastern Conference executive told Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports. “But the Nets are going to be a little put off by them already because of the Ben Simmons thing because they feel like they were set up to give away James Harden all along. So the Sixers burned them once, do the Nets want to go back and say, OK, sure, we’ll do a KD deal, too.”

But as that executive noted, one significant question remained in any Durant-Sixers deal: would Maxey be included in any swap?

“The main thing is, though, does Tyrese Maxey get put into the deal?,” the exec continued. “Because then the Nets have to listen, they might not get a better young player than him in any deal they make for Durant. Maxey, Tobias Harris, and (Matisse) Thybulle would work, but the Nets would not get any picks in the deal because Philly can’t offer any right now. If that is all that is on the table, Brooklyn would have to pass.”

At the time, a Durant-for-Maxey swap merited serious debate. Now, though, with Durant looking like a legitimate MVP candidate and the Nets having righted the ship after a tumultuous start, there’s no way the Sixers would say no. Unfortunately, Durant is no longer on the table. In fact, he’s not even in the kitchen anymore. Or the house. Or the street. You get the point.

Furkan Korkmaz Could be On the Move

If the Sixers do make a move before the trade deadline, don’t expect fireworks. According to NBA insider and former Sixers beat writer Jake Fischer, Philadelphia is eyeing cap-saving deals rather than splashy sales.

“On a more day-to-day level of things we actually think will happen… I think they’ll be looking more on the margins of things….Furkan Korkmaz, hardly playing right now for this team, or inconsistent in his usage off the bench, on the hook for another $5.3M next year, definitely been a name I’ve heard rival teams speculate as someone to be looked to move,” Fischer suggested on his podcast Please Don’t Aggregate This.

Korkmaz has seen his role in Philadelphia diminish considerably this season. If the team could get off his contract, it could open up more salary space for the team to use on a potential buyout candidate. Looking at you, Eric Gordon.