The 2022 NBA Draft is 10 days away, and things are heating up both at the top of the draft and within the entire first round. Draft night is often a buzzy evening filled with possible trade talks across the league.
And apparently the Sixers are looking for a way into those discussions.
The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor included a little nugget in his latest mock draft about what Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is up to these days in the lead-up to next Thursday evening:
"The Sixers are exploring trades involving this pick and Danny Green, according to sources. While Green was an important two-way wing for the Sixers, he tore both the ACL and LCL in his left knee in May and now he has an expiring $10 million contract. If they end trading the pick, I’d imagine a raw, high-upside player like Wesley would have wide appeal. If the Sixers keep it, taking a swing could pay off since they don’t have a first again until 2024 after the Nets deferred this year’s pick to take Philly’s 2023 selection instead. That’s a bet that the Sixers will be worse."
Is it a coincidence that this news trickles out just a few days after I dreamt up six potential deals that would include Green and the No. 23 pick? Or is Morey reading my blogs? (Hi Daryl!)
Just kidding. It doesn't take a genius to realize the Sixers' front office to be looking for ways to move Green's contract and the pick. The hit rate on a guy in the 20s is iffy at best and they already nailed one with Tyrese Maxey; the odds aren't exactly in their favor on it working out that fast again (see: Jaden Springer) within the Joel Embiid-James Harden title window.
Instead, they should be trying to put all of their assets to work to add win-now pieces and go for it immediately. That's what this is.
It's important to note that any potential trade would have to wait until after the No. 23 pick is made because of the NBA's Stepien Rule. The Sixers already traded away their 2023 first-round pick, which prevents them from trading this year's pick. But they can agree in principle to a trade with another team and pick a player for that team, and then execute the deal.As I mentioned, late last week I looked at six potential trade candidates who could provide offense (and maybe a little defense?) if the Sixers can find a team interested in the pick, willing to take on Green's contract, and maybe even fascinated by Matisse Thybulle's upside.
Here's what I wrote about my favorite possibility, Atlanta Hawks wing Bogdan Bogdanovic:
"PHI receives: B. Bogdanovic (2 years remaining, both at $18M)
"ATL receives: D. Green, M. Thybulle, J. Springer, No. 23 overall pick
"Bogdanovic is one of the names who frequently came up when the initial idea was tossed around on Twitter.
"Bogie will be 30 when the 2022-23 season begins, and at this point it feels like he's a known commodity: his points-per-36 has been between 18.5 and 19.9 the last four seasons, he averages roughly four boards and four assists per game, and he's a career 38% three-point shooter and 82% free throw shooter. Good stuff!
"But if you haven't paid close attention to his game, here's something that may have snuck past you: after being a legit defensive liability in his first NBA season, Bogdanovic's on/off defensive numbers were basically the best of his career, from points/100 possessions (1.4) to opposing eFG% (0.7%) to turnover rate (1.7%).
"The guy is still offensively-minded, but he feels like a real two-way player now, which is great because the Sixers desperately need those."
With big money already invested in Embiid and Tobias Harris, Harden's upcoming big-money contract, and the eventual Maxey contract in a few years, the Sixers' hands are kind of tied in terms of adding value in free agency. The trade market opens things up a little.
Of course, finding a willing partner will be the most delicate part of the trade-seeking dance. Things are about to get interesting.