It was a quiet trade deadline for the Sixers, but plenty of deals were made that could impact them this season and beyond.
The Sixers (26-25) did not make a move before the 3 p.m. cutoff on Thursday. The team feels good about the current roster and is approaching a favorable schedule after the All-Star Break. They will face sub.-500 opponents in over half of their remaining regular season games.
That being said, the Sixers still will explore possible targets on the buyout market that could help with a postseason push. The playoff eligibility waiver deadline is March 1.
This trade deadline was different for the Sixers compared to last season in that they were looking to enhance the roster versus unloading it. A year ago the focus was resolving the logjam at the center position with Nerlens Noel (traded to the Mavericks) and Jahlil Okafor (traded in December to the Nets).
The Sixers were eyeing a boost for the bench. No player is averaging more than 7.1 points in a reserve role. Brown noted the need specifically for long-range contributors. The Sixers are tied for 17th with the Knicks for three-point shooting (36.0 percent).
“I feel like what I am always trying to challenge myself with is, how do you help your bench?” Brett Brown said Tuesday. “How do you help us score more? I think the interest of shooting, probably, some more threes interests me. It’d be great if we could make some of those as well. But I feel like perimeter shooting, me helping my bench score, those types of things come to my mind.”
Two names that circulated around were veterans Tyreke Evans and Marco Belinelli. Both would have been a fit to amp up the Sixers’ offense, but neither were traded. The Grizzlies were asking for first round picks or more, according to multiple reports. Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype reported the Grizzlies inquired about Dario Saric during talks.
The Cavaliers made the biggest splash at the deadline. They traded, well, seems like just about everyone besides LeBron James. They first sent sent Cav-for-less-than-a-season Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and their own 2018 protected first round pick to the Lakers in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
The Cavs weren’t done there. They sent Dwyane Wade to Miami for a reunion with the Heat. The Cavs also made a three-team trade with the Jazz and Kings, acquiring Rodney Hood and George Hill while sending Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose to the Jazz and Iman Shumpert with a 2020 second-round pick to the Kings.
So what does all this mean for the Sixers? The Cavaliers looked to improve their roster, which has been hitting rocky skids, and could be a potential first-round playoff opponent. The long-time implications are more significant: what does this mean for LeBron James? Will he see a bright enough future to stay in Cleveland, or could he be lured to another team, including the Lakers with available cap space, and open up the opportunity for teams like the Sixers to move up in the East?
The most immediate effect could be what the addition of Wade does for the Heat. The Sixers currently are one game behind them in the playoff standings and face the Heat two more times this season.
The Sixers kept their roster intact at the trade deadline, with perhaps their most sought-after piece already on the team. Whether or not they added a player on Thursday, the most anticipated addition to the court remains Markelle Fultz.