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The Opportunities Should Be There

Happy belated Valentine's Day everyone. Hope your love life is treating you better than your Sixers fan life these days. Fresh off their first loss in which they carried a lead into the fourth quarter, the Sixers (minus Jrue) won't play for a week. Let's take a realistic at what this team's options are going forward.

OK, so the first decision the team needs to make is whether (a) making the playoffs this season is a possibility and (b) making the playoffs this season is a priority. Wednesday  night's loss muddied the waters a bit, but they're certainly still within striking distance and there's a possibility the two teams immediately in front of them will make deleterious moves in the next week. If they're dead set on making the playoffs, maybe they can make a move that will benefit them in the short term, but it's hard to find a decent fit. If the playoffs aren't a priority, several more doors open on the trade front.

Here's the list of Sixers players who I think have a positive value on the trade market: Jrue (good contract, value on the floor), Thad (good contract, value on the floor), Nick Young (expiring contract, value on the floor), Dorell Wright (expiring contract, value on the floor), Andrew Bynum (anyone who seriously wants to sign him this summer would love to have his Bird Rights). I think Hawes is probably right on the bubble. There are a handful of teams who could use him and would value his mid-range game coming off the bench at the five. Boston certainly comes to mind. But he's owed quite a bit of money this year and next. I think, for most teams, Hawes would be an acceptable piece only if you're sending out long-term money in the deal. I consider Turner to have negative value. There might be a team out there willing to overlook his pitiful efficiency in the hopes that he can reclaim his college glory, but they aren't going to give up legitimate value to pay $12M to roll the dice that he'll suddenly figure out how to compete at this level on a consistent basis. There are moron GM's out there who will overvalue his counting stats, but I've yet to be convinced the Sixers are capable of taking advantage of an executive on another team. They've always been on the wrong end of that equation in my experience.

If the Sixers want to make a trade to upgrade themselves this season, the best they can probably hope for is moving Turner for a wing who can defend. I think a deal like that is out there to be made, but I doubt DiLeo and Collins would bite the bullet and pull the plug on the Turner fiasco without being able to at least save some face in the deal. Otherwise, I think the only way they can make a move with enough impact to move the needle from lottery to playoffs would be to find a team without cap space this summer and convince them they can re-sign Bynum if they trade for him now. A team without the means to bid on the open market who desperately wants him, health be damned. If you look at the rest of the guys with any value, you're going to be creating a hole to make the move, and this team already has so many holes, I don't see how it's going to improve their chances unless they absolutely swindle someone in a trade (which won't happen).

Now, if long-term contention is the only criteria for a trade, there's plenty of wiggle room. Nick Young and Wright are both extremely valuable assets right now. Expiring contracts who can contribute right now. Nick Young, in particular, could be very much in demand on the trade market. OKC comes immediately to mind. They desperately need punch off the bench, and the type of punch Nick is capable of providing. The Sixers can also put together a package of short contracts for a bigger, longer contract. They've got the two expiring deals, then roughly $19M in Hawes, Turner, Lavoy and Kwame with only one extra year left on their deal. If there's someone looking to sell a star, the Sixers can and should step up with a financial aid package. Something like Thad and Wright for Horford and DeShawn Stevenson would shave a bunch of money off Atlanta's books if they wanted to re-sign Josh Smith and make a run at Dwight Howard, for example. If the Pacers are looking to get rid of Granger, the Sixers can pretty much match his contract with expiring deals, opening doors for Indy in free agency this summer and giving the Sixers a core of Thad, Granger, Bynum and Holiday, if they choose to go in that direction.

The main point here is there are a ton of options out there. Even if they can't pull of a big deal for themselves, they have enough pieces to latch onto a deal other teams are making. To be a facilitator who picks up some spare change on the side. I'm not an advocate of blowing it up purely for the sake of dropping in the standings. Given the choice between a move that doesn't have a legitimate benefit going forward or staying the course and trying to squeak into the playoffs if/when Bynum comes back, I choose the latter, but the Sixers should absolutely be throwing caution to the wind over the next six days. The pieces they can use in trades (really outside of Jrue) aren't vital going forward. Explore every avenue and don't afraid to be bold.
by Brian on Feb 15 2013
Tags: Basketball | Sixers | Trade Rumors |