A popular name among Sixers fans came up in a trade rumor over this past weekend.
Suns swingman Trevor Ariza was mentioned in a possible move to the Lakers, per ESPN.
Ariza going elsewhere could be disappointing to some, but the reason we’re writing about it is that the Sixers are mentioned as a team that could help facilitate the deal. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is reportedly unhappy with his role and the Sixers "could be a landing spot," according to the Los Angeles Times.
Caldwell-Pope is an interesting player for the Sixers. The team needs bench help — either guys that can guard or guys that can shoot. Caldwell-Pope is a strong defender, both on the ball and at getting deflections. His length and athleticism are a big part of that. Aside from Jimmy Butler, he’d become the Sixers’ best defensive wing.
His shot has been inconsistent since he entered the league. He shot a career-high 38 percent from three last season but that number has dipped to 34 percent this year. Over the last two-plus seasons, he’s been right around the league average at 36 percent on 5.4 attempts a night. He’s still just 25 years old. Looking back at Ariza’s career, he didn’t become a consistent three-and-D guy until his age-27 season.
Caldwell-Pope, the eighth overall pick in 2013, has also seen a reduced role this season. The Lakers signed some guy named LeBron James, and Caldwell-Pope is playing just 21.5 minutes a night. With younger perimeter guys like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart getting a larger role this season, there isn’t as much burn for Caldwell-Pope.
If he were traded to the Sixers, he’d likely become their sixth man almost immediately. He can provide more on both ends than Landry Shamet, T.J. McConnell or, when he’s healthy, Markelle Fultz.
A three-team swap between the Sixers, Lakers and Suns would be a little tricky. Ariza is making $15 million this season while Caldwell-Pope is making $12 million. Since both players were signed this offseason, neither player can be moved until Dec. 15.
What would the Sixers have to give up? Well, they’d basically have to dump salary to the Suns in order to make the deal work. They do have a $2,526,840 trade exception from the Butler deal — since they gave up more salary than they took on — so that should certainly help. But as far as actual assets, it’s hard to say.
If the cost is a couple bottom-of-the-roster players and cash, that’s a no-brainer. Caldwell-Pope becomes your best bench option and his contract expires at the end of the season. Also, the Lakers are likely giving up a lot more to acquire Ariza than what the Sixers will to get Caldwell-Pope.
Caldwell-Pope is not Ariza, but he’s an upgrade over what you have and a pretty damn good consolation prize.
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