With the trade deadline quickly approaching on February 7th, the Sixers were very active in acquiring key pieces moving forward. Earlier in the season the Sixers made a blockbuster trade acquiring Jimmy Butler from the Timberwolves and giving up two loved members of the Sixers, Robert Covington and Dario Saric. This trade helped immediately and they haven’t looked back since. Their starting lineup improved in production right away and the feeling was that things would increase overall for the team. However, as several weeks went on and several games were lost due to the incapability of the bench production, the team decided to make another move. Looking back on games since the acquisition of Butler, the starting five when playing together had tremendous production, yet when the role players would come in the production would drop. It is expected as role players come in, the production won’t always be held to the standard of the starters. The team would struggle to keep leads late in games and come close to losing double digit leads numerous times. When trying to fight for a lead or come back into a game, the starters would be drained because of the amount of minutes being played. All these factors resulted in two trades made in as many days. After a tough loss against the Raptors, on February 5th, the organization wasted no time making a move.
This blockbuster trade involved the Los Angeles Clippers sending Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and Mike Scott. While the Sixers are sending Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, two second round picks, Sixers 2020 first round pick and the hardest asset to give up, Miami’s 2021 first round pick. At first glance this trade may seem like a lot to give up but after analyzing the trade it might not be the worst thing for the sixers. One major concern is that Harris’ contract is up at the end of this season and becomes an unrestricted free agent. However, I believe the Sixers wouldn’t have given all of those assets up if they were unsure about being able to resign Harris in the future. Another big hit for the Sixers was giving up the Miami first rounder. Throughout the league this was one of the biggest pieces that teams were trying to get. The Sixers could have used that for a piece in another possible trade to land a more talented player. When you look at the league though it isn’t often top talented players that get traded. Other than Porzingis being traded the other day, star players decide really where they want to go mostly in free agency. The Sixers felt like they needed to go out and get Harris and if throwing that pick in to help was going to finalize it, then so be it. It does hurt to give up that pick but when looking at what you get in return it could be worth it. Tobias Harris is averaging 20.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg and 2.7 apg. Yes, his numbers probably will go down but that is because he was the first option with the Clippers and now with the Sixers he will be able to compliment the rest of the starting five on both ends of the court. Boban will come right into the roster as the backup center relieving Joel of some minutes. Boban is a solid player to have come off the bench and play quality minutes. Also Boban and Tobias bring great chemistry to the locker room. A very underrated part of this trade. Scott doesn’t have the numbers that will stick out to you but the defense he brings and role playing ability will help improve the depth of the team. Even though it may seem like they have gave up a lot, the Sixers were able to improve the starting lineup and the depth all in one trade.
With the second trade coming from the Toronto Raptors is Malachi Richardson, Toronto’s 2022 second round pick and the draft rights to
Emir Preldzic. While the Sixers only gave away cash considerations. Although this trade isn’t of the caliber of the first trade, the hopes are that Malachi will be able to develop into a quality role player for the new rotation while also immediately getting back a second rounder they recently gave up. The Sixers knew depth would be an issue and definitely addressed it around the deadline.
Going forward it will be interesting to see how Brett Brown uses his roster and the different combination of players going forward with the rest of the season. With the projected starting lineup moving forward as Simmons, Reddick, Butler, Harris and Embiid, that is a force to be reckon with.