The Sixers are currently sitting on top of the East; however, this doesn’t tell the whole story.

On Tuesday, Shake Milton had his first 20 point performance since the 16th of January. Over this period, the Sixers’ bench was one of the worst in the league for scoring.

There are still questions over their firepower when compared to teams they’re competing with.

Philadelphia has a .657% record, placing them 5th in the NBA and this record would have placed them 4th in the East at the end of last year’s regular season.

Decent, but not exactly the time to be popping the champagne, is it?

Despite Kevin Durant being out, the Nets have won nine of their last 10 and will be looking to improve their defensive stocks through the trade or buyout market. The Bucks are on a five-game winning streak, are second in the NBA for points differential (7.5), and appear to be priming themselves for the playoffs this time around.

The Heat have recently been showing signs they are still the same team that won the East last year. Boston’s best player was hit by COVID and has been highly inefficient since. The Celtics also have a massive trade exception and young assets. With some decent moves and a return to form for Jayson Tatum and potentially Kemba Walker, the Celtics could be a problem.

All things considered, the Sixers are shaping as big-time buyers and will be keeping a close eye on who are the likely sellers on the trade market.

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The sellers in the East are still shaking out, and more teams will no doubt declare selling intentions before the deadline. However, the East has many teams who regularly choose to compete for a low playoff seed over a long-term rebuild. And the East as a whole has been pretty terrible so far this season… The Knicks are a game above .500 and are 4th!

It will be interesting to see how the play-in tournament impacts what the sellers shape up to be. Will teams with a chance to make the 10th seed to get in the playoff tournament avoid selling their winnow assets? 

At least for the time being, Atlanta and Washington are refusing to believe they’re bad enough for a rebuild. Cleveland, Orlando, and Detroit are at the bottom of the East and could be sellers. Cleveland doesn’t really have vets that the Sixers are likely to be interested in.

Orlando seems to believe with a better injury run, and they can be a significant team in future years. However, surely they can’t deny this season is looking like a wash for them with a 13/22 record placing them second last. We’ve seen the Sixers deal with Orlando in recent years, and another mutually beneficial deal could be struck. Evan Fournier is on a $17 million expiring deal, and the Magic could look to move him on. Fournier’s defense has improved over the years, and he provides more on offense than Danny Green, who could be in the deal.

Alternatively, the Sixers could package something like Scott, Ferguson, Bradley, and a 1st or multiple decent seconds. It is probably not the place the Sixers would be looking to first, but it could be worth looking at Fournier late if they strike out elsewhere.

I wish I could confidently say the Raptors are the most likely team in the East the Sixers will strike a deal with through a Kyle Lowry trade. However, Woj recently said he would be surprised if Lowry is in another uniform before the season’s end… and Woj is rarely wrong.


Detroit is at the bottom of the East, has already traded Derek Rose, and is looking to move Blake Griffin.

Whilst the Sixers would only be interested in Griffin as a buyout to come off the bench, Detroit is shaping as the Eastern Conference team the Sixers are most likely to deal with at the deadline, via a couple of potential small moves to improve the bench.

Wayne Ellington

Wayne Ellington is shooting 41% from three on six attempts per game in just 22.5 minutes. The Sixers need guys that will let it fly and hit at a decent clip, and Ellington could be the guy to do it. He’s a 33-year-old vet on an expiring $3.5 million deal.

If Detroit can get a low second-round pick or multiple mid-seconds for him, it’s hard to see why they wouldn’t be willing to make a deal. The Sixers need to be making a play for Wayne Ellington.

Delon Wright

Delon Wright’s name has also been floated in recent times and could be a solid playmaking option off the bench, playing either guard position. Wright has another year left on his deal at 8.5 million per year.

Whilst this could be a good thing if the shoe fits, right now, the Sixers have flexibility going into the 2021 offseason, and adding Delon Wright could impact that flexibility.

The way Morey operates, it’s hard to see him parting with first-round picks if he feels they still need another star addition. If Morey avoids using first-rounders, it could be an indication he feels the Sixers might need one more star like a Beal or Lavine to be a top-end contender. These picks plus young assets could land themselves a big fish in the coming year or two should they become available.

On the contrary, if Morey uses even one first-rounder to trade in role players, it’s an indication that moving forward, he truly believes the Sixers’ top-end talent is enough to contend.

Daryl Morey maintained some cap flexibility in the offseason to allow them to make in-season moves.
The Sixers have 23 days to make their move.

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