The NBA trade deadline is 24 hours away and there will be many teams looking to make that last move before the playoffs begin in May.
One team that has been mentioned in various trade rumors over the last few weeks is the Philadelphia 76ers. This season, the Sixers led by head coach Doc Rivers, have been the best team in the East with a record of 31-13. They’ve gotten to this point thanks to play of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris. Embiid, who is in the MVP conversation, is currently injured but should be back soon.
For the Sixers to compete for a title this season, many people and fans believe they need to find a suitable upgrade at the guard spot. Some of the players that have been mentioned are Kyle Lowry, Lonzo Ball, George Hill, and Norman Powell. We’ll breakdown which one of these guards should be their top target before Thursday’s deadline.
Sixers’ Top Target: Lonzo Ball
If you asked us a couple of weeks ago who would be the Sixers’ top trade target, the consensus answer would be Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry. The Philadelphia native is in the final year of his deal with the Raptors, who have struggled this season and appear to be in rebuilding mode.
Despite being 35 years old, Lowry would provide the Sixers another guard, who can be a floor general and also another scorer. But the hold ups with a potential Lowry deal is what the Sixers would have to go give up and finances.
Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Tuesday that the Raptors would like either Matisse Thybulle or rookie point guard Tyrese Maxey in return for Lowry. Pompey also added that the Sixers aren’t willing to part ways with Thybulle, which makes a ton of sense considering that he’s one of the best defenders on the team.
In regards to finances, Pompey also reported that wherever Lowry goes next he would want an indication that his new team would give him a two-year, $50 million extension. If you are the Sixers, you have the contract to match Lowry’s current salary ($30M), but it would not make sense to pay an aging point guard north of $20M per year.
Ball would cost less than Lowry and the Sixers would possibly be able to re-sign him next season. He is currently scheduled to be a restricted free agent this offseason. According to Kevin O’ Connor of The Ringer, the Pelicans are hoping to get a first-round pick or young player in return for Ball.
Philadelphia could afford to do either as their first-round pick will likely be in the 20’s and they could send New Orleans Tyrese Maxey and filler players. If acquired by the Sixers, Ball would give them another playmaker at the position, who can also defend at a high-level.
This season, Ball is averaging career-highs across the board with 14.2 points, 5.6 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game. He’s also shooting 42.5% from the field and 38.5% from three-point range. But the Sixers will have some competition for Ball as the Knicks, Clippers, and Hawks have all been mentioned as possible destinations.