Sixers Likely to Trade Veteran ‘Flamethrower’ This Season, Says Analyst

Furkan Korkmaz, Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Furkan Korkmaz #30 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Last season was a tough one for the Philadelphia 76ers‘ bench. By the end of the regular season, the second unit finished an abysmal 27th in assists and 28th in scoring. And it’s not hard to understand why.

After the relative star power at the top of the roster — Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey — the team was devoid of consistent bench contributors. Georges Niang led the bench with 9.2 points per night, followed by Shake Milton with 8.2. Milton led the bench in assists with 2.5, just half a help higher than fellow backup Andre Drummond (2.0).

But none struggled quite as much as Furkan Korkmaz. In his fifth season with Philadelphia, Korkmaz’ shooting regressed to a career-worst 28.9% from three. He still saw plenty of action — roughly 21 minutes per night — but failed to live up to his billing as a microwave scorer off the bench.

Now, with the Sixers having patched up the bench unit significantly, Korkmaz’s time in Philadelphia might be running out. At least, according to Sean Kennedy of Liberty Ballers, who forecasted Korkmaz’s future in Philadelphia recently.

Korkmaz Remains A Strong Trade Candidate

Kennedy was clear to draw a line between the type of player that Korkmaz is and his production on the court. When it comes to the former, there’s no problem: Korkmaz is energetic, brings a toughness and edge, and generally promotes good vibes on the court.

But in reality, Korkmaz’s performance last season was too dreadful to ignore. And Kennedy believes the Turkish shooter might struggle finding time this season. Even more than that — he might find himself on another team before the season ends.

“I don’t anticipate Korkmaz being part of the main rotation out of the gate. I’m sure he’ll get his minutes, both as Doc Rivers cycles the back end of the roster based on matchups and as guys pick up minor injuries here and there. The most likely outcome still feels like Furkan leaves Philadelphia via trade, though. The team just has so few salary-matching avenues. Now, if Korkmaz shoots the ball well and the team decides to keep him around, I’d happily be wrong. Every club needs a rainmaker,” wrote Kennedy.

Just two seasons ago, Korkmaz looked like he could have a shiny future in Philadelphia. He shot 40% from three on nearly five attempts per game. But he’s failed to build on that promise, regressing in each of his last two campaigns in Philadelphia.

Trading Korkmaz Could Save the 76ers Money

As it stands, Korkmaz has the sixth-highest salary on the Sixers for next season at $5 million. It’s a relative bargain, but might still be too costly for the Sixers’ cap-strapped front office. That’s because Korkmaz might be paid like the Sixers’ sixth-best option, but he’s far from it.

A recent Sixers roster power rankings by Bleacher Report had Korkmaz as the 12th-best Sixer heading into next season, just ahead of untested second-year Jaden Springer. Korkmaz was dinged for inconsistent shooting and an inability to contribute anything else on the floor.

But for another team, having the chance to rehabilitate a still-young talent might be enticing. He’s two years away from free agency and his contract only rises to $5.4 next season. As it stands, Korkmaz’s estimated market value is $10.2 million, per Cleaning the Glass. So perhaps a young and hungry team makes an offer to Sixers boss Daryl Morey for Korkmaz while the player is still relatively inexpensive.

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