The Philadelphia 76ers are loaded with star power at the top of the roster in Joel Embiid and James Harden. But for some fans, that level of talent just isn’t enough.
Philadelphia has done all sorts of roster revamping this summer, including the additions of De’Anthony Melton, Danuel House, PJ Tucker, and Montrezl Harrell. But those four weren’t the only ones linked to the Sixers this summer.
In early August, it was reported by Ian Begley of SNY that a few members of the Sixers’ front office had an interest in exploring a Kevin Durant trade. Durant, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets, had issued not one but two trade requests out of New York at the time.
But as it turns out, the interest in a Sixers-Durant deal was mutual. According to NBA insider Bill Simmons, Durant was sniffing around Philadelphia after playing with Harden in Europe this summer. And even though Durant has rescinded his trade request and looks to be staying in Brooklyn, Sixers fans haven’t stopped the recruitment.
Over the weekend, Durant was at the University of Texas for their college football showdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Durant played college ball for UT for a single season in 2006. And when he was spotted by a few Sixers fans, well, they couldn’t help but put in a word for their team.
“KD come to Philly, trust the process. Trust the process baby,” a fan called out to Durant as they passed his golf cart on September 10.
While Durant might not be suiting up in a Sixers jersey anytime soon, it’s good to know that Philadephia fans travel well — even to the Lone Star State. But even back when a Durant trade looked feasible, it might have just been all smoke.
Kevin Durant Trade Negotiations ‘Largely Fake’
Over the summer, Durant was linked to several teams via potential trade, including the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and Phoenix Suns. And while those early trade negotiations might have been honest, the latter ones at least, were likely not.
“According to NBA insiders, Brooklyn’s effort to deal KD was largely fake,” NBA Insider Ethan Strauss reported on his blog House of Strauss on September 2. “Sure there were a few legitimate calls at the very beginning, when Durant made his ask. After that point, though, the trade discussions were mostly a façade, conducted simply to suggest the effort.”
Here’s the kicker: Philadelphia’s interest in Durant was reported well after Durant made his initial ask. Thus, any conversations between the Sixers and Nets were likely in bad faith by Brooklyn, if Strauss is to be believed.
It’s a tough pill to swallow for the Sixers, but also not entirely surprising. If the Nets were indeed never going to trade Durant, there’s little the Sixers could do. In fact, the team’s offer of Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris, and a few other rotation players likely wouldn’t have moved the needle with the Celtics dangling Jaylen Brown.
Sixers Not Finished Making Moves Yet?
Even if Durant is in the offing for Philadelphia, the team likely isn’t done wheeling and dealing this summer. As it stands, the team has 17 players under contract (some fully guaranteed, partially guaranteed, and non-guaranteed).
Per league rules, however, a team can only carry 15 players under contract during the regular season. So over the next two or three weeks, the Sixers will need to find a way to get in under the league’s 15-player requirement.
Perhaps the Sixers move a handful of end-of-the-roster names, like Furkan Korkmaz, Shake Milton, Charles Bassey, and Trevelin Queen to solve the problem. In that case, the team might be looking at a three-for-one mini-trade or simply cutting players with under non-guaranteed deals.