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 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 are likely not in a hurry 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. 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.
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.
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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