SIXERS

Sixers showing interest in intriguing, hard-dunking forward

SIXERS

The trade winds are blowing with the NBA trade deadline less than three weeks away. The Sixers are the best team in the East at the All-Star Game break, but President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is still looking for ways to shore up the roster for a title run.

And one intriguing player has caught the eye of Morey - as well as the eyes of multiple other teams.

Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Larry Nance Jr., the hard-dunking, athletic big man, is reportedly being pursued by a number of teams, according to Cleveland.com.

Here's where Nance's market stands as of Saturday, per Chris Fedor:

"According to sources, Nance is the player the Cavs have received the most calls about. Sources say the Minnesota Timberwolves have been aggressively pursuing him since the offseason. Nance’s old teammate and buddy D’Angelo Russell is a strong Nance advocate. Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Miami and Dallas have also shown interest."

Very interesting!

I really like the idea of adding Nance. The Sixers absolutely could use a depth big man, particularly one with Nance's skillset. Nance's not a game-breaking offensive threat, but he's quietly turned himself into a reliable option from deep - he's shooting a career-best 38.1% from deep on 3.3 attempts per game - which would help create space on the floor if Nance were used as a small-ball center with Ben Simmons handling the ball. He's also averaging a career-best 3.2 assists per game.

 

(You might remember Nance best for his high-flying performance as the runner-up in the 2018 NBA Dunk Contest. The dude can soar.)

Nance is also not a bad option on the defensive end. He's averaging nearly two steals per game, 0.5 blocks per game, and has a +3 net rating through 19 games on a Cavaliers team that sits in the 13-seed in the East.

Nance, who turns 29 later this spring, has an $11.7 million cap hit this year and has two more years left on his deal, with cap hits of $10.7 million and $9.7 million, respectively. So this wouldn't just be a one-year rental flyer for Morey and the Sixers, unless they feel he's tradeable this offseason.

What would taking on that contract cost in a trade? The Cavaliers are asset-hunting right now as they plan for the future, so a draft pick (or two) and an expiring contract like Mike Scott, plus salary-matching in Terrance Ferguson or Tony Bradley, could get the job done.

Now, is Nance a better option for the Sixers at the deadline than P.J. Tucker? Hard to say. Tucker brings more positional versatility and better free throw shooting, but Nance has been shooting the ball better from the field this season. They're both solid enough defenders.

And what if neither one is the answer? The Kyle Lowry trade rumors are still fascinating, though that asking price would be much higher than that for Tucker or Nance.

It all depends on what Morey sees as the Sixers' biggest needs - and what other teams decide to offer.