There was a lot in question for this year’s trade deadline. With Joel Embiid missing extended time (and potentially the rest of the season), the front office had some major decisions. Should they punt the year away or should they make some moves to keep themselves in contention during Embiid’s absence? The championship window will always be open with Embiid on the team. Even if the Sixers fall to a low seed, Embiid’s presence will make them a tough opponent even in the first round against a much higher seeded team. None of the top seeds will want to play the Sixers in the first round.
To start the deadline madness, Daryl Morey acquired Buddy Hield from the Indiana Pacers for Furkan Korkmaz, Marcus Morris, and three second round picks. This was the best trade of the day – because it actually makes sense. Furkan Korkmaz (as much as we have loved having him around) will not make the playoff rotation, and Marcus Morris Sr. would not make it either. Korkmaz has been begging for a change of scenery for a while now, so it’s nice to see him get his wishes, although he was subsequently cut from the Pacers after the trade. Hopefully for him, he finds a new fit somewhere where he can develop into a more consistent role.
Buddy Hield will most likely be an impact player in the playoff rotation. He shoots the three ball slightly above league average, and he takes a lot of them. This season he has attempted 9.9 shots per game, with 6.9 of them being 3’s. He will instantly get into the rotation and possibly be a starting player. Having a volume shooter will help provide the Sixers with some necessary scoring with Embiid out, and will provide spacing when Embiid returns. He will be very useful during the rest of the year.
Also, he is durable. Something the Sixers desperately need right now is durability. He provides that.
Shortly after the Buddy Hield trade, Morey sent Patrick Beverly to the Bucks in return for Cameron Payne and a second round pick. This trade left me – and many others – scratching my head. Patrick Beverly was the only true point guard on the Sixers roster as well as providing scrappy defense and hustle on the perimeter. Tyrese Maxey is a great player, but he truly belongs in the shooting guard position where he can attack the basket and shoot the 3 without worrying about involving teammates as much. This first half of the season was a trial run to see if Maxey can do it. He can, but right now, the Sixers need a true distributor to take the lead on offense.
Cameron Payne will probably takeover that role of backup point guard off the bench, but it’s hard to imagine he will bring the same energy on defense that Beverly provided. Payne does not turn the ball over much, which is good, but he will have to develop chemistry with a new team before he can really distribute the ball effectively. It seems that the backup point guard role will take a small step backwards with Beverly leaving.
One major positive that Payne has over Beverly: 3-point shooting. Beverly is shooting around 32% from 3 this year, while Payne is hovering around 40%. That will certainly help the bench scoring, which is Beverly’s weakness.
This last trade made the least amount of sense. The Sixers traded a young player, Jaden Springer, to the rival Boston Celtics. The Sixers have not had a good perimeter defender for a while, and Springer provided some excitement in that regard. He does not have a polished offensive game yet, but his defense looks good. Just the other day against the warriors, he drew an offensive foul against Steph Curry after some really nice moves by Steph. I don’t see many players on this roster that could do what he did. If the Sixers had received something in return, the trade could have been justified, but all they got was a 2nd round pick from the Celtics, which is not very valuable, and has a 0% chance to contribute this year. We have to hope Morey will be very active in the buyout market.
The Buyout Market
Once 3 PM hit yesterday and the trades were all said and done, the Sixers ended up clearing around $4.9 million in cap space and have three open roster spots. Some potential names the Sixers could target in the buyout market are:
- Kyle Lowry
- Spencer Dinwiddie
- Killian Hayes
These are the three top point guards that could find their way to the Sixers during the buyout market madness.
Lowry to the Sixers rumors have swirled around the media for years. He’s a product of Philadelphia, a veteran, and plays a position they need. Lowry is the definition of a seasoned veteran. He has plenty of playoff experience with one championship ring to show for it, and brings major consistency to any team he is on. He can score when necessary, but also averages 4 assists this year on a Charlotte Hornets team that does not have many good players to pass the ball to. Putting Kyle Lowry on a team with weapons that the Sixers have would most certainly boost his assist number. Lowry should be a high priority target for the Sixers.
The one negative for Lowry is his age. At age 37, he has played in the league since 2006 which puts a lot of wear and tear on him. This has not proven a problem for him yet, but older players like him could slow down during a deep playoff run. Nevertheless, he would still provide a steady, veteran presence on the team.
On paper, Dinwiddie looks like the more appealing option. He averages more points and assists than Lowry while turning the ball over slightly less. Dinwiddie, though, is much less efficient than Lowry. He shoots 39% from the field and 32% from 3. He is another volume shooter, like Hield, which could cause chemistry issues when pairing the two together on the court. They could both get hot together, but they could also get cold together.
Even though he lacks in efficiency, he averages 6 assists per game this year. If he could take less shots (or higher percentage shots) and let the other players like Maxey, Tobi, and Embiid take on the heaviest weight of the scoring, he could become a very valuable piece to this team. He provides size and length to the guard position, something the Sixers have needed since the departure of Ben Simmons.
Hayes did not get traded, but the Pistons acquired some other players, so they made the decision to waive him. He is not the veteran that Dinwiddie and Lowry are, but he has some upside. The Pistons drafted him 7th overall in 2020, and he has averaged around 5 assists per game during his time in the league. He provides length and athleticism just like Dinwiddie, but he is even more inefficient with scoring, shooting 41% from the field and an abysmal 29% from 3-point range. He could provide some help on defense, but his lack of scoring ability would keep him off the court during a playoff run. I would only see the Sixers signing him if Dinwiddie and Lowry both get scooped up by another team. They could potentially sign him and try to develop him in a smaller role since the Sixers are significantly better than the Pistons and they would use him much less.
Did the Sixers get better from the trade deadline? Marginally. Buddy Hield could provide some life on offense when needed, but it’s not the big splash move that everyone hoped for. The real improvements should come shortly with the buyout market. The Sixers priorities should go as followed:
- Kyle Lowry
- Spencer Dinwiddie
- Killian Hayes (only if necessary)
If they can pick up Lowry or Dinwiddie, that would be a huge boost to the point guard position. Either of those two could possibly end up in the starting rotation right now and down the road with Embiid back. They have three open roster spots, so getting both Lowry AND Dinwiddie could happen. Probably not, but possible.
Picture from NBA.com