76ers

Sixers trade targets: Perimeter players team could target before Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline

Sixers trade targets: Perimeter players team could target before Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline

The trade deadline is a little over a week away and there’s plenty of buzz already.

We take a look at a few players that may be on the block that the Sixers could target ahead of Feb. 7.

Reggie Bullock
This is a name that’s been high on my list pretty much all season. Bullock has turned himself into an elite three-point shooter during his time in Detroit (41 percent) and has good length at 6-7 to cause problems on defense. 

What’s interesting as well is that the Pistons run similar action with Bullock and Blake Griffin as the Sixers do with JJ Redick and Joel Embiid. That could make Bullock’s transition much smoother. Bullock, along with former Sixer Ish Smith, is garnering trade interest.

Taurean Prince
The Hawks are looking to sell and there’s a chance Prince could be had. They were hoping the 2016 lottery pick would develop into something bigger, but into his third season, Atlanta may be ready to move on.

Prince has a tremendous NBA frame (6-8/220), can hit threes (37 percent on 4.3 attempts a game) and was touted as a defensive prospect coming out. He may not be the player the Hawks thought they were getting, but he’s just 24, he’s cheap and he’d fit perfectly into a role as a combo forward on the Sixers.

Mike Conley
He’s a big name with a big contract, but he’s also a pretty damn good basketball player. We outlined last week how the thought of Conley could be tempting, but ultimately it doesn’t make sense for the Sixers.

Terrence Ross
Ross is having a career year on a struggling Magic team. He’s shooting 37 percent from three and averaging 13.9 points a game. One of the issues with Ross is that the Magic are one of those teams that would prefer an eight seed to tanking — how noble — though Orlando is fading fast. The other issue is Ross’ $10.5 million cap hit that could be tough for the Sixers to match.

Garrett Temple
Temple has turned himself from fringe NBA player to real contributor. He’s a legit three-point threat (37 percent over the last three seasons) and a decent defender. While the Grizzlies appear to be open for business, like Ross, Temple’s contract could be an obstacle. At $8 million, it could be difficult for the Sixers to match.

Cory Joseph
It may make a little more sense now for Indiana to sell off one of its point guards with Victor Oladipo out for the season. Joseph is on an expiring deal at just under $8 million, so again, not the easiest money to match. But Joseph would be a big upgrade as a backup point guard. He’s a pest with quick feet on defense and can provide some offensive punch.

Courtney Lee
Lee had a neck injury that cost him the first 24 games of the season and isn’t even in the Knicks’ rotation right now. His contract is the worst of all the players listed at over $12 million this year and in 2019-20. While there are certainly skills here and a veteran presence that should interest the Sixers, the money is likely too big of a hurdle to realistically get a deal done without a third team involved.

Buyout candidate

Wesley Matthews
There was a report that the Mavericks were trying to dump Matthews’ money into a deal involving Dennis Smith Jr. Now that those trade talks have halted, Matthews could be a buyout candidate if Dallas continues to slide in the standings. His cap number is over $18 million, so a trade is unlikely.

His best seasons are behind him at 32, but Matthews would be a tremendous addition as a complementary piece for the Sixers. He’s still an above-average shooter from three and can offer a little something off the bounce and in the midrange. He could fill a similar role to what Marco Belinelli did here, but Matthews is a much better defender.

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Sixers Talk podcast: Latest on an NBA return; remembering 1983 Finals

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NBCSP/USA Today Images

Sixers Talk podcast: Latest on an NBA return; remembering 1983 Finals

On this edition of the Sixers Talk podcast, we discuss many reported scenarios for a return to play for the NBA and remember the 1982-83 Sixers. 

(0:27) — Introducing the newest member of the Sixers Talk podcast, Ben Berry.
(2:45) — We are close to having NBA basketball returning.
(19:34) — Remembering Game 1 of the 1983 NBA Finals and how the league has changed since.

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How high-flying 1983 Sixers beat Lakers at their own game in NBA Finals

How high-flying 1983 Sixers beat Lakers at their own game in NBA Finals

It’s no great revelation to say that the NBA was much different the last time the Sixers won a championship. The shorts were shorter and the three-point shot was more of a novelty than an emphasis.

We watched Game 1 of the 1983 NBA Finals, a 113-107 Sixers win over the Lakers, to get a better sense of both what’s changed about the sport and the characters on that championship team. Game 2 will air Saturday night on NBC Sports Philadelphia, while Games 3 and 4 will air Sunday.

The Sixers managed to sweep the Lakers despite attempting two three-pointers all series and making none. In the 2019 NBA Finals, the Raptors made 72 threes. 

We’ll start off by looking at a Moses Malone post-up that is almost nothing like a Joel Embiid post-up. 

The first noticeable difference is there are no players outside of the three-point arc. And instead of cutting away from the action after making the entry pass, as a player usually would in the modern NBA, Clint Richardson sprints right through the middle of the lane. That invites an all-out double team, something Malone saw plenty of in this game. In this era of more stringent illegal defense rules, teams had to send double teams decisively because shading help in the direction of the man posting up often wasn’t legal. With the paint full of bodies and no teammates open, Malone simply powers through Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper. 

This next play features Andrew Toney running the point after Maurice Cheeks encountered early foul trouble. He curls around a pin down screen from Clemon Johnson and scores.

In 2020, Toney would probably be running a long loop around Johnson’s screen and catching the ball behind the arc. While such an action would obviously give Toney the chance to add an extra point, it’s interesting to see how the tighter spacing allows for these kind of sharp shifts in direction to be more effective.

Against a scorer of Toney’s caliber, Norm Nixon has no room for error in how he guards the pin down. When he falls behind the play and has to chase Toney, “The Boston Strangler” can create an easy jumper with a quick fake and dribble toward the baseline. 

While the ’82-83 Sixers could score at a high rate working around Malone in the half court, they were very successful this game in the open floor. Malone was the NBA’s leading rebounder and always ready to start a fast break, and Julius Erving required attention from opposing defenses. They beat the “Showtime” Lakers at their own game.

There were a few stretches of lax defense in Game 1, but the Sixers’ ability to guard the paint jumped out. The concept of a single “rim protector” is fashionable today, but this Sixers team had a handful of players who deterred and blocked shots. Malone picks up two blocks here after the Sixers make a mistake in covering the Nixon-Mark Landsberger pick-and-roll on the right wing, but Erving and Bobby Jones are also ready to joust at the rim. They were overeager on this sequence, leaping in the air on pump fakes, but you can see how many weapons the Sixers had with their interior defense. 

Erving was especially excellent as a shot blocker in this series. He rejected five shots in Game 1 and 11 across the four games, the most of any player. With ease and grace, he chewed up ground — Magic Johnson thought he had an open layup here.

In contrast, Kurt Rambis seemed aware that Erving was around, but Dr. J gobbled up his attempt anyway.  

As is often the case in a playoff series between two rivals, the Lakers frequently appeared to know the Sixers’ plan on offense. The Sixers’ fluid improvisations in response were impressive. 

In the first clip below, Erving slides back door when Johnson fronts him. On the next play, the initial action of Richardson coming up from the left block to the elbow to screen for Malone is rebuffed. The Sixers stay patient, find a good passing angle and let the MVP seal off Landsberger. 

We’ll end with a play that’s a ton of fun to watch, however many times you rewind it.

On first viewing, it’s a high-flying dunk by Erving. Watch it again, though, and you’ll appreciate Cheeks bringing the ball forward with a purpose, constantly looking for a free teammate. You’ll see Abdul-Jabbar lumber out toward Erving, clearly hopeless as the Hall of Fame forward accelerates toward the rim and glides into his dunk over Johnson. And as the referee puts his hands out in a gesture of “Nothing wrong with that,” you’ll notice Erving drop down to the floor from Johnson’s grasp and give the Lakers point guard a quiet pat before running back down the floor. He didn’t need to say anything. 

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube



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