Joel Embiid’s recent bone bruise notwithstanding, things have gone incredibly well for the Philadelphia 76ers this season. With first-year coach Doc Rivers leading the charge, the Sixers have stormed to the top of the Eastern Conference standings, dominating opponents defensively along the way.
Whether or not the team can hang onto the top seed in the Eastern Conference, however, remains to be seen. Especially with the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks playing their best basketball of the season. So, the Sixers will likely consider roster upgrades as the NBA trade deadline approaches.
Especially with Embiid expected to miss multiple weeks of action.
In recent weeks, a number of names have been linked to Philly as potential trade targets. Ultimately, the team’s president of basketball operations may opt to roll with the crew he has already assembled. But in preparing for the possibility that something does go down, here are eight players who have been mentioned as potential targets.
According to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange, Toronto Raptors floor general Kyle Lowry won’t be dealt ahead of the deadline. However, that report hasn’t stopped the basketball blogosphere from dropping his name at a breakneck pace as trade chatter continues to heat up.
And a move to the City of Brotherly Love could make a lot of sense for both sides.
Lowry is averaging 18 points, seven assists and nearly six rebounds per contest this season. He is also making 39.7 percent of his three-point shots, one of the better marks of his 15-year career. For a Sixers squad that has largely been in the middle of the pack offensively, he could be an incredible addition.
Meanwhile, the Sixers would give him shot at contending for another title. Lowry is also a Philly native, who reportedly has expressed a desire to join the Sixers.
Other Backcourt Players
Delon Wright of the Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder point-man George Hill have both been mentioned as players that Philly may have inquired about. And while they are at different stages of their respective careers, both players could have something to offer the Sixers.
Although Wright was chosen in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft due to his potential as a defender and athlete, he has been shooting the ball with improved efficacy as of late. He is averaging a career-best 10.5 points per contest this season on shooting splits of 47-38-77.
Hill, meanwhile, has missed a significant portion of the season after undergoing a minor surgical procedure on his thumb in February. When he was playing, though, he continued to score efficiently while logging major minutes for OKC.
Through 14 games, the 34-year-old was averaging nearly 12 points per contest while posting a gaudy effective field goal percentage of 60.0.
More recently, Austin Rivers was floated by The Athletic’s John Hollinger as a player he expected the Sixers to pursue. And while he is currently playing a role in the Knicks’ playoff push — and there may have been some locker-room drama the last time he played under his father in Los Angeles — he would definitely bolster the Sixers’ depth.
Rivers is averaging 7.3 points per game this season.
Rumored Frontcourt Targets
In terms of offensive punch, Denver Nuggets wing Will Barton is uniquely skilled as a support player with his aggressiveness and ability to create for his teammates (when he is not gunning). It’s a combination that could be utilized to tremendous effect in Philly.
With Michael Porter Jr. taking minutes and touches away from the veteran, the Denver Nuggets could look to move him while he still has value. Bleacher Report’s Jason Dumas, who also reported on Wright and Hill, has indicated that Philly is interested.
A better add might be Cleveland Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr., who is putting up nine points, seven boards, three assists and nearly two steals per contest this season. While he lacks Barton’s scoring punch, his size, athleticism and defensive ability are top notch.
Although Cleveland.com has namechecked the Sixers as a suitor, the outlet also noted that Nance is considered a core piece for the Cavs.
Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker was recently reported as a likely acquisition for the Sixers. However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski failed to mention Philly as a potential landing spot last week. He is averaging four points and five boards per game this season.
Finally, Sacramento Kings big man Nemanja Bjelica — once one of the NBA’s better floor-stretching bigs — has also been mentioned as a possible target. Although his production is down this season, he posted a 12-6-3 line in 2019-20 and is a career 39-percent three-point shooter.