With the James Harden era a thing of the past, the Philadelphia 76ers can look to the future. With all of the expiring contracts the Sixers acquired in exchange for Harden, among others, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix named two players the team is keeping an eye on for a potential trade.
“Some of the early chatter on names to watch with Philadelphia: Zach LaVine and OG Anunoby. LaVine is the kind of scorer/ball-handler the Sixers could use. Anunoby is the versatile defender Philly needs against Boston/MIL in the playoffs,” Mannix posted on X on October 31.
Though trading for either player would probably be difficult, acquiring one of them would signal to Joel Embiid that the Sixers are committed to building a winner around him.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sixers are “at the mercy of” Embiid and are under pressure to appease him.
“That is the reality … and Philly knows that,” Wojnarowski said November 3 on an appearance on “NBA on ESPN.” “And now they’re going to spend literally every waking day trying to convince Joel Embiid [that] everything he wants — and that’s, most of all, winning — can still happen with the Sixers.”
Since the Chicago Bulls acquired LaVine in 2017, he has made the All-Star team twice, although he has been to the playoffs only once in his 10-year NBA career. Anunoby won a title with the Toronto Raptors in 2019, though he did not play in their playoff run due to an injury.
Neither of those players is of the same caliber as Harden, but they could help keep the Sixers in the hunt for a title.
Zach LaVine’s & OG Anunoby’s Availability Revealed: Insider
Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer wrote about where he thought LaVine and Anunoby stood as trade targets.
“For all the noise surrounding Zach LaVine’s availability in Chicago, the Bulls have explored his market for the same reasons Philadelphia likely wouldn’t be interested in obtaining him: questionable defensive chops and winning formula and his gargantuan contract. The Raptors’ soon-to-be free agents Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby have yet to be real, gettable players on the market,” Fischer wrote in an October 31 story.
The Sixers’ interest in LaVine could change if they eventually need a player on the roster who fits LaVine’s archetype. The Raptors could also put Anunoby on the market if their season trends downward.
James Harden ‘Ecstatic’ to Join Clippers: Report
Wojnarowski also reported on Harden’s feelings about joining the Los Angeles Clippers. Wojnarowski credited Ramona Shelburne for what sources had told her about Harden’s reaction.
“Harden is ‘ecstatic’ to be going to the Clippers and was hoping to fly to Los Angeles as soon as possible, sources close to him told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. There’s a chance he will attend Tuesday night’s Clippers home game against the Orlando Magic,” Wojnarowski wrote in an October 31 story.
The Sixers may not have gotten a star in return for Harden, but at least they’ve rid themselves of any internal issues. The expiring contracts they acquired for Harden – Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum and Robert Covington – will help them match salaries for the likes of LaVine and/or Anunoby.