Time for everyone’s favorite thing: pretending to be the Sixers’ general manager and making fake trades. Are these trades sexy? No, but with a top-heavy roster centered around three stars, the Sixers need to improve along the margins (see story) as much as possible ahead of their postseason run in 2019.
If you’re in an uncomfortably quiet Uber ride or want to sound smart while waiting to get a fresh cut at the barbershop, throw out these trade ideas:
Sixers receive: SG Justin Holiday, C Robin Lopez, 2020 second rounder
Bulls receive: PG Markelle Fultz, PF Mike Muscala, PF Jonah Bolden
The Bulls are in a complete rebuild. They need to buy low on talent like Markelle Fultz wherever they can. The shiny allure of a guy who was the No. 1 pick last June could be appealing to the Bulls’ disaster of a front office.
Justin Holiday is exactly the role player the Sixers are in dire need of. He’s a guard who can defend 1s and 2s while knocking down triples. He’s shot 36.3 percent from three over the last three seasons. Those numbers include 38.4 percent just this year alone on absurd 7.5 attempts per game for a tanking team.
He actually had a 10-day contract alongside his brother Jrue with this Sixers back in April 2013. Time for the Wells Fargo Center video screen person to work on the “I’m Coming Home” video montage!
The Sixers desperately need a stable backup 5 behind Joel Embiid as well. Amir Johnson, despite looking like he could destroy me just by glancing in my direction, is washed. Mike Muscala (hope you enjoy deep dish pizza, pal) moves laterally with the deftness of an elephant. They need to ease Embiid’s unprecedented (for him) minutes burden. Robin Lopez is as stable of a defense-first center that the Sixers are going to find in this market.
Lopez, who looks like Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons, is notorious for fighting with mascots around the league too. I’d pay top dollar to see him tackle Franklin the Dog while Franklin is shooting t-shirts into the mezzanine during a first half timeout.
Sixers receive: G Cory Joseph
Pacers receive: PF Mike Muscala, 2019 second rounder (via Chicago)
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported earlier this week that the Pacers are looking to move on from one of Darren Collison or Cory Joseph given the encouraging play so far this season from rookie point guard Aaron Holiday (brother of Justin and Jrue). Given the fact that Ben Simmons, TJ McConnell and Markelle Fultz all literally go out of their ways to not shoot the ball beyond the three-point line, Joseph could be a welcomed addition in Philly. He’s another body to throw at opposing guards on defense as well.
He additionally has familiarity with Brett Brown, as their time in San Antonio overlapped. Joseph seems to me as someone Brown would have McConnell-level confidence in to run the offense while spelling Simmons for short stints in April and May. Joseph is a capable shooter from deep, connecting on 36.2 percent of his threes over the last three seasons.
I think it’s in the collective bargaining agreement that the Pacers must have four goofy-looking white guys on their roster every season too, so Muscala would pair well with Doug McDermott, Domantas Sabonis and TJ Leaf in Indiana.
Sixers receive: G Terrence Ross
Magic receive: PG Markelle Fultz
How hasn’t this deal happened yet?
Ross, like every other player I’ve tried to acquire for the Sixers, is an unrestricted free agent after this year. He has no value to them beyond this season as a vet on a team that’s in a never-ending rebuild.
The Magic have about 17 lottery pick power forwards on their roster and could use an influx of youth on the perimeter. As I stated previously with the Bulls, it makes all the sense in the world for a rebuilding team to take a shot on Fultz in a low-pressure environment to see if he can find his former self.
Ross is bouncy at 6-foot-7 and shooting 39.1 percent from three this season on 5.6 attempts per game. He’d be an immediate upgrade in the Sixers’ much-depleted wing rotation. I’m already imagining Ben Simmons hitting him with a half-court alley-oop while the Wells Fargo Center goes absolutely bonkers (I’m shirtless in the upper level in this scenario).
It feels like Ross has torched the Sixers every time he’s played them in his career, so there’s an added benefit of no longer having to live in fear of playing another Sixer Killer for the remainder of the season too.
Most importantly: If the Sixers were to somehow acquire both Cory Joseph and Ross, they could play them at the same time as Wilson Chandler, giving them a perimeter lineup of Joey, Ross and Chandler (I just winked so hard that I popped a blood vessel in my eye).
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