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2020 NBA trade rumors tracker: Breaking down Sixers' trade targets and assets

2020 NBA trade rumors tracker: Breaking down Sixers' trade targets and assets

One way or another, the next couple of weeks are going to be interesting for the Sixers.

Ahead of the Feb. 6 trade deadline, we look at players the Sixers have been linked to and what assets they have to make a move. 

Targets and fit

Derrick Rose, PG, Pistons

The Sixers, Lakers and “multiple teams with championship aspirations” have interest in Rose, per Yahoo! Sports' Chris Haynes. The former MVP is having one of his best and healthiest seasons in years. He leads Detroit in scoring at 18.4 points a game and is shooting just under 50 percent from the field.

It’s not hard to see how Rose could help the Sixers. He can create off the dribble, hit shots in the midrange and finish at the rim. He’s almost unstoppable in the pick-and-roll. He’d represent a significant upgrade over Trey Burke and Raul Neto and would be the Sixers’ best reserve offensively.

The Pistons likely won’t be in a hurry to deal the 31-year-old. He has a very manageable contract. He’s in the first season of a two-year, $15-million deal. A concern on the court could be that Rose is shooting just 31.3 from three this season. 

In 2016, Rose and two friends were found not guilty of sexual battery, battery and trespassing in a civil trial that stemmed from a 2013 incident.

Robert Covington, SF, Timberwolves

According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Sixers have “inquired” about reacquiring Covington. A First-Team All-Defensive pick while here, Covington is still a deflection machine, averaging 1.7 steals and just under a block a game.

There’s a lot to like about a Covington reunion. The biggest attraction is on the defensive end, where the team could become a switchable monster at times. Whether Covington gets a spot in the starting lineup or becomes the team’s sixth man — imagine being able to send out Covington and Matisse Thybulle as your first two subs — he’d be in line for a substantial role.

Much like with Rose, Covington is on a team-friendly deal (two years at less than $13 million left after this season) and there’s no reason for the Timberwolves to rush a trade. Though his shooting is a little down this season (34.8 percent from three), plenty of teams will be looking for a 3-and-D player of RoCo’s caliber.

Malik Beasley, G/F, Nuggets

O’Connor also linked Beasley to the Sixers in his piece. A first-round pick in 2016, Beasley is shooting 38.8 percent from three this season. The only reason he hasn’t seen more time in Denver is the team’s surplus of guards.

On the Sixers, he’d likely sneak right into a top-eight spot. Beasley is an exceptional athlete and a willing defender. While his shooting is his most attractive skill, he does possess some slashing ability and would make a strong transition partner for Ben Simmons.

Beasley has a low cap number and is still just 22 years old. The Nuggets don't need to trade Beasley, though he did reportedly turn down an extension offer over the summer. He's on the fourth year of his rookie deal and would become a restricted free agent this offseason. Denver has shown a willingness to take on projects in the past. Perhaps Zhaire Smith could appeal to the Nuggets.

Alec Burks, G/F, Warriors

While the Sixers haven’t been directly linked to Burks, “several teams in recent weeks have expressed interest,” per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole. The Warriors could hold on to Burks, who is having a career resurgence at 28, but Golden State trading him at the deadline “still seems most likely.” In his ninth NBA season, Burks is averaging 16.2 points a game.

He’s just an average three-point shooter (35.6 percent), but he has an impressive offensive skillset. He’s a three-level scorer that also is adept at getting to the free throw line — a skill this team could use. He’s not the greatest defender but uses his length to make up for some of his deficiencies.

Financially, this trade shouldn’t be tough for the Sixers to make with Burks on a veteran minimum deal. What will the Warriors expect to get in return for the veteran wing? Tough to say. He’d be an easy fit in the Sixers’ rotation though.

Davis Bertans, F, Washington Wizards 

NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes reported on Jan. 6 that the Sixers have “emerged as suitors" for Bertans, in addition to the Hawks, Celtics, Lakers and Nuggets.

Bertans has the best three-point percentage in the NBA among players who have taken at least seven threes per game, hitting 42.8 percent on 8.6 attempts.

He has a $7 million salary this year and looks poised to earn substantially more than that when he hits free agency after the season.

Bertans would boost the Sixers’ three-point volume and efficiency, neither of which are good. The team is currently 24th in threes attempted per game (30.3) and 18th in three-point percentage. He has an elite skill that would be helpful for the Sixers. The obvious question is whether they could offer a package to the Wizards — presumably containing multiple bench players — that both teams would find fair

Langston Galloway and Luke Kennard, G, Detroit Pistons 

The Sixers have interest in Pistons teammates Kennard and Galloway, according to The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey.

The 6-foot-1 Galloway is the No. 2 scorer in Saint Joseph’s history, behind only Jameer Nelson. He’s having a career-best year from three-point range, shooting 39.1 percent on five attempts per game. The 28-year-old has a $7.3 million salary this season, his final year under contract with Detroit. 

Kennard is younger, cheaper and not on an expiring deal. He’s due to make $3.8 million this season, and the Pistons picked up his fourth-year option for 2020-21. Kennard, who’s averaged 15.8 points and made 39.9 percent of his threes, hasn’t played since Dec. 21 because of bilateral knee tendinitis. 

It’s clear why both players would be appealing to the Sixers

E’twaun Moore, G, New Orleans Pelicans 

O’Connor includes Moore in a “long list of wings” the Sixers have expressed interest in. 

Moore is in the last of a four-year deal with the Pelicans and is making $8.7 million in 2019-20.

He’s proven he can score off the bench and has shot 42 percent from three over the past two-plus seasons — you’re probably sensing a theme here.

Danilo Gallinari, F, Oklahoma City Thunder

The Sixers "have expressed interested" in the 31-year-old forward, according to O'Connor. It makes sense given Gallinari's skillset as a shooter (40.8 percent from three) and scorer (19 points a game) and the team's need for both. It just doesn' seem like a realistic fit from a financial standpoint.

Sixers who could be traded 

Smith is, according to Pompey and O’Connor, the player the Sixers are most likely to include in a trade.

The 20-year-old Smith has spent this season in the G League after a rookie year in which he broke his foot and had severe medical complications stemming from an allergic reaction. He’s known for his athleticism, though Smith has also shot the ball well lately and says he’s now “hunting threes.” Out of all the Sixers not currently in the regular rotation, Smith sure seems like the one who would be most attractive to other teams.

Another young player worth mentioning is Jonah Bolden, who flashed a versatile game as a rookie but had, up until Monday in Brooklyn, yet to see meaningful NBA minutes this season. The third and fourth years of Bolden's contract are non-guaranteed.

Mike Scott could be a significant piece for salary-matching purposes, especially for a player like Covington, Rose, Bertans or Galloway in the $7-10 million range. Scott is owed $4.8 million this year and a little over $5 million in 2020-21. 

Sixers making the veteran’s minimum like Neto and Burke could be included in a deal for the same reason, especially if the Sixers were acquiring someone who plays the same position.

One player making the veteran’s minimum who cannot be traded unless he approves is James Ennis. The 29-year-old wing must consent to any trade.

Additional assets

An important thing to note is that the Sixers will likely not own a first-round pick in 2020. Their own pick was sent to the Los Angeles Clippers in the trade that brought in Tobias Harris. It is now the property of the Brooklyn Nets and is top-14 protected. If the pick doesn’t convey for the 2020 draft, obviously this season has gone terribly wrong.

While they did acquire a first-round pick from the Orlando Magic in the Markelle Fultz deal, that pick conveying is contingent upon the Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s top-20 protected and if it doesn’t convey will turn into two second-round picks. The surprising Thunder are only a few games out of a top-nine spot. It doesn’t seem likely, but certainly more possible than it did before the season started.

Per the Stepien Rule, no team is allowed to trade first-round picks in consecutive seasons. In this case, since the Sixers traded their 2020 pick, the Sixers can’t use their 2021 first-rounder in a deal. The earliest first-round pick they can trade is 2022. That should still be a somewhat attractive trade chip.

The Sixers also have a bevy of second-round picks to work with:

2020 — Own; Hawks, protected 31-55; More favorable of Brooklyn and New York; Dallas

2021 — Own or Houston (via swap from James Ennis deal); Denver; New York

2022 — More favorable of Sixers and Denver to Minnesota then other to Miami; Oklahoma City if Thunder does not convey first-round pick in 2020; Toronto

2023 — (Likely) own; Most favorable of Atlanta, Charlotte and Brooklyn; Oklahoma City if Thunder does not convey first-round pick in 2020.

2024 — (Likely) own; Miami 56-60

All draft pick information courtesy of RealGM.com.

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Sixers pursued 'high-level, accomplished' executives before hiring Elton Brand as general manager

Sixers pursued 'high-level, accomplished' executives before hiring Elton Brand as general manager

In the wake of the absurd scandal involving Bryan Colangelo and burner Twitter accounts, the Sixers searched for their next general manager and handed Brett Brown the job on an interim basis. Eventually, they promoted Elton Brand.

He was certainly not their first choice, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

“When they opened that job up, when Colangelo was gone and before they promoted Elton Brand, they went after any number of high-level, accomplished executives around the league,” Wojnarowski said on The Woj Pod. “They were willing to offer Daryl Morey, Bob Meyers, Dennis Lindsey, Sam Presti. There may have been more.”

Brand’s only previous executive experience was as the GM of the Sixers’ G-League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats (formerly the 87ers). It makes sense that the Sixers would have preferred more established candidates.

The Sixers were “rebuffed” in their efforts to hire Morey, The New York Times’ Marc Stein reported in July of 2018. A mentor to former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie, Morey won the NBA’s Executive of the Year Award in 2018 and is still GM of the Rockets. 

Stein also reported the Sixers “commissioned a clandestine run at prying Myers away from the Warriors that was likewise rebuffed.” Myers has served as the Warriors’ general manger since 2012 and won three championships with the team.

Lindsey is the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Jazz, while Presti has been GM of the Thunder franchise since 2007. 

The Sixers had an interview with former Cavs and current Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin but, according to The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, “felt he wasn’t a good fit for their front-office structure” and wanted to “make collaborative decisions instead of a GM who will have the final say.”

In July of 2018, Sixers managing partner Josh Harris told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Amy Fadool, “It’s very consensus-oriented, there’s a lot of people in the dialogue, and we want to make sure we find the right fit for that.”

Wojnarowski noted on the podcast that Harris and the Sixers’ leadership above Brand remain influential.

“Ownership’s got a lot of say in Philly," he said. “You’ve got a group of owners that are involved, that are there. How many team have multiple owners courtside each corner of the arena, each night?

Brand has made several major moves since assuming the GM job in September of 2018, including trading for Jimmy Butler, shipping Markelle Fultz to Orlando, trading for Tobias Harris and then signing him to a five-year, $180 million deal this summer, and giving Al Horford a four-year contract with $97 million guaranteed. At 37-23 this season and 9-21 on the road, Brand’s roster has not performed the way he envisioned. 

Wojnarowski and Max Kellerman also talk about expectations for the rest of the Sixers' season, the history of Sam Hinkie’s Process and more on the podcast, which you can listen to here

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Tobias Harris is blocking out outside noise about big contract, trying to carry Sixers

Tobias Harris is blocking out outside noise about big contract, trying to carry Sixers

When you’re given the largest contract in the history of a storied franchise like the Sixers in the city of Philadelphia, you’re going to face scrutiny.

Tobias Harris has gotten his fair share since inking a five-year, $180 million near-max deal this past offseason. The 27-year-old hasn’t consistently provided the scoring needed to complement Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Though at times, like Thursday night against the Knicks, Harris has looked like the player GM Elton Brand traded for and then chose to re-sign as a franchise cornerstone. 

With Embiid and Simmons both on the shelf, this is the version the Sixers need to see a lot more of.

“At the beginning of the game, had some good looks going,” Harris said. “We had good pop to our flow, to our offense, and was able to get some just in-the-flow plays. Once I'm able to get into the flow and the ball is able to move around, that's where I'm at my best. And I just carried that throughout the game.”

Harris, who was one off his Sixers high with 34 points, has said since he arrived before last season’s trade deadline that he flourishes in systems with good ball movement. That’s likely why he’s shot the ball better from three with Simmons on the floor (37.5) than off (29.5).

Simmons leads the NBA in assists on threes whereas with Embiid, his methodical approach in the post can make the offense stagnant at times. With both off the floor, Harris will have to do more to get his own shot.

Brett Brown admitted after Thursday’s game that he’s simplified the offense with his two All-Stars out. Against the Knicks, Harris just attacked mismatches all night, punishing smaller defenders in the post and driving on New York’s bigs.

“With those two out, we'll have to find our identity of how we're going to play,” Harris said. “You saw tonight, we had a lot of just wide-open looks out of the initial pin down action either between Al [Horford] and [Josh Richardson] or Al [Horford] and [Alec] Burks so we got a lot of easy ones going and just were able to go at different mismatches that we felt.”

The trio of Harris, Horford and Richardson struggled in Cleveland, going 12 of 35. They all had bounce-back games of some sort, but it was Harris who likely got the most heat and responded in the biggest way.

Does he feel like it’s his responsibility to carry the team right now because of the large investment the they made on him?

“I would be naive to think there’s not a hint of that,” Brown said. “I think he’s really competitive and if you paid him a nickel or $170 million, I think that you’re going to get a highly competitive player. ... He’s very prideful. That’s why he’s good. 

“He’s trying to do his part obviously to earn his keep, but I think it’s way deeper than that. I think he just wants to be on a winning team for a long time and try to help steer this program to trying to find, at some point, a championship.”

With the fans, there's a sentiment of Harris being overpaid, so not much is made when he hangs 34 on a bad Knicks team. It makes sense. Fans would rather root for an underdog like Shake Milton, who's come out of nowhere to earn important minutes.

Harris has become a leader and a respected player in the Sixers’ locker room. That’s his only concern.

“There's obviously outside noise that comes involved with [signing a big contract],” Harris said. “I always look at it like the only noise that really carries weight for me is noise in our locker room, and with the guys on our team and coaching staff. I truly believe that you can ask every single one of them in the locker room, the value that I bring to this team, on and off the floor, and they will vouch for that. That's the credibility that I go with. ... So I just try to do my job on a daily basis, be a professional every day and go to work.”

With 22 games left and the Sixers trying to claw their way up the East with their All-Stars banged up, Harris will have ample opportunity to show his value to everyone else.

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