Sixers Trade Deadline Primer: Going Through Their Available Resources, Potential Trade Targets

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the hottest teams in the NBA. They have won 19 of their last 23 games and currently sit in second place in the Eastern Conference at 31-16. However, the Feb. 9 trade deadline still presents a potential opportunity for the Sixers to improve the roster along the margins.

What resources do the Sixers have to use at this year’s trade deadline?

President of basketball operations Daryl Morey has his job cut out for him at this year’s trade deadline. The cupboard is bare for the Sixers in terms of high-value assets Morey can use in a potential trade.

The Sixers have very little draft capital they can use. They traded away their 2023 first-round pick to the Brooklyn Nets as part of the James Harden deal last season. Brooklyn also owns their 2027 first-round pick via the same trade. Their 2025 first-round pick belongs to the Oklahoma City Thunder via the trade that sent Al Horford packing in 2020. Due to the Stepien Rule, teams cannot go without a first-round pick in consecutive drafts. As a result, the Sixers do not have an eligible first-rounder to include in any potential trade until their 2029 pick.

That leaves the Sixers just second-round picks, in terms of draft capital, to use in any offer. The team does not own any of their second-round picks until 2027. However, due to a plethora of trades the Sixers do own the rights to the most favorable second-round pick between the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and the Nets. Currently, they are in line to receive the Hornets’ second-round pick. Charlotte is sitting at 13-36, making their pick valuable as it is on pace to be near the very top of the second round.

The Sixers also have to contend with restrictions around the salary cap. As a team over the salary cap, they must send out an amount of salary similar to what they are bringing in. In order for the Sixers to make any meaningful trade, they will have to send out some “salary filler” in order to match the salaries. The two most obvious salary fillers on the roster are Furkan Korkmaz ($5 million) and Danuel House Jr. ($4.105 million).

Matisse Thybulle is another potential player who could be sent out at the trade deadline. He is making $4.379 million this season and will become a restricted free agent this coming offseason. While struggling offensively, he holds some potential value among other teams due to his elite perimeter defense.

Thybulle, together with Korkmaz and House Jr., would total $13.484 million of salary. That amount would be plenty enough for the Sixers to bring in a meaningful addition to the roster. However, a theoretical three-for-one trade would leave the Sixers with just 12 players on the roster (not including two-way contracts).

Shake Milton’s name has been buoyed about in trade rumors as well. However, his positive play this season has led to him locking up a spot in the rotation and thus most likely being not available in trade discussions.

Could the Sixers make a move at the deadline only to save money?

According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, financial flexibility could be a potential incentive for the Sixers at the trade deadline:

“There is also a financial aspect that might underscore the Sixers’ trade deadline efforts if the right upgrades don’t materialize. This season currently marks Philadelphia’s third straight year as a taxpayer, which would subject the Sixers to pay repeater tax rates on every dollar over the 2023-24 tax threshold. The Sixers are hovering just above this year’s tax line at present, which could put players such as Furkan Korkmaz, Matisse Thybulle and Jaden Springer in the trade conversation.”

Making a cost-cutting move seems highly unlikely at this stage. The Sixers are in a position to contend for a championship this season. Trading away any asset purely to duck the tax would be anathema to the team’s mission of winning a title. Sure, it is a possibility. However, it should only be considered once all other potential moves at the trade deadline to help put a better product out on the floor have failed.

Potential trade targets

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The Sixers starting lineup is mostly set outside of tinkering between starting De’Anthony Melton or Tyrese Maxey. Their rotation depth is improved from where it was at in previous seasons. However, teams can never have enough depth and there certainly still are some areas of the roster that could be improved.

Backup center continues to be an issue for the Sixers. Montrezl Harrell has vast limitations defensively and Paul Reed does not have the full trust of head coach Doc Rivers. P.J. Tucker could play some small-ball center minutes come the postseason, but it would likely be unwise to rely solely on small-ball minutes when Joel Embiid exits the floor.

There are a few available targets who could potentially interest the Sixers at backup center. Andre Drummond, the ex-Sixer from last season, has seemingly fallen out of favor with the Chicago Bulls. Matching salaries would not be hard as Drummond is making $3.2 million this season. Kelly Olynyk would be an enticing option as a stretch big who is capable of both backing up Embiid and perhaps playing alongside him in certain lineups. He is averaging 12.2 points, 5 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 50.3% from the field and 41.3% from 3-point range while starting for the Utah Jazz. His $12.804 million salary would be more difficult to match, but it is still within the Sixers’ price range. Mason Plumlee ($8.525 million salary) could be another name to watch. He is putting together a solid season, averaging 12.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists, for a Hornets team that could start selling at the trade deadline.

The Sixers could also use some improved depth in other areas. The Phoenix Suns are very likely to part ways with Jae Crowder at this year’s trade deadline. He has been away from the team all season as they attempt to negotiate a trade. With a $10.183 million salary, he would be at the top of the Sixers’ price range but is certainly worth the cost. Last season, he averaged 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 34.8% from 3-point range. He is a scrappy player who can produce on both ends of the floor.

Doug McDermott is another intriguing option for the Sixers. The 31-year-old is shooting 41.8% from beyond the arc for the San Antonio Spurs this season. According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the potential asking price for McDermott is “one or two second-round picks.” Making the salaries match would be difficult with McDermott making $13.750 million this season, and he would be a liability defensively. However, adding another sharpshooter to come off the bench could prove beneficial for the Sixers.

There are a handful of other potential names that could interest Morey and the Sixers. P.J. Washington ($5.808 million salary) would be a nice piece to come off the bench if the Hornets look to unload him. He has the versatility to play either forward position and, shooting 37% from 3-point range for his career, is capable of spacing the floor. Contending teams would love to add Washington, seen as a great role player, to their roster. The Los Angeles Clippers could look to get rid of Reggie Jackson ($11.215 million salary), a talented guard who certainly would make for a nice addition to the Sixers’ rotation. Alec Burks ($10.012 million salary) could be reunited in Philadelphia. He had a brief stint with the Sixers back in the 2019-20 season. He is having an effective season for the Detroit Pistons, averaging 13.5 points per game while shooting 44.4% from beyond the arc.

The players mentioned above are just a handful of the potential targets the Sixers can go after at this trade deadline. As of Jan. 27, the Sixers have not been mentioned in a lot of trade rumors. However, things will likely heat up to some extent in the final days leading up to the Feb. 9 trade deadline. Stay tuned to for any trade deadline news surrounding the Sixers in the coming weeks.

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