Al Horford Fails Sixers (Again) Without Being on Roster

Celtics trade proposal moves Al Horford for Kelly Oubre

Getty Al Horford #42 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after scoring against the Denver Nuggets.

The Philadelphia 76ers let the $8.2 million Al Horford trade exception expire on Tuesday without adding a player in a sign-and-trade. There had been rampant speculation that the Sixers would use that money to acquire an impact player from a team looking to shed salary and get under the luxury tax.

Philadelphia could have used the exception to potentially acquire a guy like Cam Reddish or DJ Augustin. They didn’t get anyone. According to the Bucks County Courier Times, the Sixers stood pat because “nothing worthwhile was available” and they have a full 15-man roster. Which they like. Other players considered available were Justin Holiday, P.J. Washington, Danuel House, JaMychal Green. Nothing. Maybe that’s because the Sixers are already above the $136.6 million luxury tax threshold themselves.

The decision to trade for Horford back in 2019 was an abject failure. The team eventually parlayed Horford into veteran wing Danny Green (score one for team president Daryl Morey) and received $8.2 million in the process. Here are NBA rules regarding trade exceptions and how they work (via Rights to Ricky Sanchez):

In the trade, the Sixers created an $8.2M trade exception. What that means is they, without sending out any players, are allowed to absorb up to $8.2M in a trade. They can’t combine the $8.2M with the salary of someone under contract, though. Think of it as a portal of sorts, one with which the Sixers can eat up to that $8.2M figure.

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Sixers Announce 2021 Preseason Schedule

The Sixers will open the 2021 preseason on Oct. 4 in Toronto at ScotiaBank Arena against the Raptors before getting them again on Oct. 7 in Philadelphia at Wells Fargo Center. Their third game – Oct. 11 versus the Brooklyn Nets at Wells Fargo Center – was elevated to a national broadcast on Friday. That game will be shown live on ESPN2 and looks to be a possible Eastern Conference Finals preview. The Sixers close out the preseason on Oct. 15 in Detroit at Little Caesars Arena versus the Pistons.

Waiting for Trail Blazers Star Damian Lillard?

The Ben Simmons’ saga continues to play out in the press and on the national stage. The three-time All-Star (via reports) wants out of Philly and is prepared to skip training camp. And the Sixers don’t want to trade him for less than they feel he’s worth. How that plays out remains to be seen. But the one name that keeps popping up in trade rumors is Damian Lillard.

The Portland Trail Blazers star hasn’t publicly requested a trade and there is no indication that he will. However, Lillard would check all the boxes and Morey is believed to be all in for him should he become available. ESPN’s Bobby Marks and Tim Bontemps recently provided an update:

Like several other teams around the league, the 76ers are closely monitoring the Lillard situation in hopes that he asks out of Portland. Earlier this summer, Lillard said he didn’t feel like the Blazers had a championship roster and wanted to see improvements. Portland has had a quiet offseason in terms of free-agent additions.

Until there’s any movement there — or another team comes in with a huge offer for Simmons separately — it seems likely Simmons will remain on Philadelphia’s roster for the foreseeable future.

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