The Philadelphia 76ers did well to capture the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings ahead of the NBA All-Star break. However, if they’re intent on holding off Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving and the hard-charging Brooklyn Nets, there’s a chance they may need some additional firepower.
Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has never been gun-shy about making roster moves, so it should come as no surprise that multiple players have already been linked to the 76ers as potential trade targets.
On Saturday morning, another player joined the list of those that the team is rumored to have shown interest in. Namely, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr.
Sixers Among Squads Said to Be Monitoring Nance
According to The Plain Dealer’s Chris Fedor — via Cleveland.com — Nance is the Cavaliers player who has received the most interest from teams around the Association as the trade deadline approaches. It’s not difficult to see why, either.
The 28-year-old, who was originally a late first-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2015, has blossomed into a solid hand with a slew of skills on both sides of the court.
#Cavs trade deadline primer: What's working against them and in their favor when it comes to Andre Drummond. The calls keep coming for Larry Nance Jr., but the answer hasn't changed. And two wings Cleveland is willing to discusshttps://t.co/XFO95dJ25M
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) March 6, 2021
Although the Cavs have languished defensively on the whole, they have performed well when Nance is on the court. This season, the team has given up just 106 points per 100 possessions when he has played. That number balloons to nearly 115 points/100 poss. when Nance is on the bench.
During the 2018-19 campaign, he finished fourth league-wide in steal rate and this season he is averaging 2.1 steals per 36 minutes.
Offensively, Nance has performed well as a playmaker and is also hitting the long ball at a career-best clip. To date, he has connected on better than 38 percent of his 3.3 three-point attempts per contest.
Consequently, Fedor reports that the Minnesota Timberwolves are “aggressively” pursuing the sixth-year pro. They’re reportedly joined by the Sixers, Boston Celtics, New Orleans Pelicans, Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks in that pursuit.
Prying Nance From the Cavs Could Be Costly
While there is a lot to like about Nance if you’re a Sixers fan, actually bringing him to Philly could prove to be a difficult task. Here is what Fedor had to say about discussions that the Cavs have had regarding Nance:
“The Cavs keep telling opposing teams that Nance, who is expected to be back in the lineup on March 12 following surgery on his fractured left hand, isn’t available,” he wrote. “They recognize what he means to the city and organization. It’s hard to see an immediate path to improvement by sending him away. Who — or what — is considered an upgrade? Altman has even joked with opposing execs about having to trade himself in any Nance deal because fans, coaches and players would quickly turn on him.”
One team is said to have offered a package including multiple late first-round picks. So, the asking price looks to be a high one, and why not? Nance is considered a core player for the rebuilding Cavs and he is on one of the friendlier long-term deals in the NBA.
His salary decreases year over year to the point that he’ll earn just $9.7 million in the final year of his deal in 2022-23.
Still, if Morey believes that the 76ers need something more, Nance is an option worth exploring.