Philadelphia 76ers general manager Daryl Morey believes the team will make a move heading of the NBA trade deadline, but admits the pickings are slim in this year’s market.
Over the past month, the 76ers have been one of the hottest teams in basketball. Their 31-16 record has them just two and a half games out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
With winning a championship as their top goal, Philly is a team to watch leading up to the Feb. 9 trade deadline. General manager Daryl Morey did an incredible job bolstering the roster this past offseason and is surely looking for more ways to make improvements.
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Earlier this week, Morey sat down for an interview with Anthony Gargano of 97.5 the Fanatic. During his appearance, the longtime executive touched on what is the Philadelphia 76ers’ mindset leading up to the NBA trade deadline.
“We’ve had multiple meetings this week on finding someone who can contribute to this team. It’s our job, but it is hard because we look around the league, and you say, ‘That guy is not better than our 11th guy who just won the game in Sacramento for us.’ It’s a harder year, but hey, we will find somebody.”
– Daryl Morey
Philadelphia 76ers must address depth behind Joel Embiid
With their newfound depth, finding upgrades at the deadline could be tough for Morey. That being said, there is one spot that he should focus on in the coming weeks.
Over the years, the Sixers have had a revolving door of backups behind superstar Joel Embiid. Former “Sixth Man of the Year” Montrezl Harrell is currently tasked with playing behind the MVP candidate center. While he’s done well so far this year, Morey should be in the market for a backup center before Feb. 9.
In the past, Harrell has been exposed in the playoffs on the defensive end of the floor. Embiid will be taking a vast majority of the center minutes, but his time off the floor could swing a game. With that in mind, the Sixers could afford to kick the tires on possible Embiid backups.
3 players Philadelphia 76ers should target before trade deadline
One name that instantly stands out as a trade target is Andre Drummond. The Chicago Bulls currently sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference and could be a potential seller at the deadline.
In 36 games for Chicago this season, Drummond is averaging 6.1 PPG and 6.6 RPG. His $3.2 million salary also makes it easy for the Sixers to make a trade work money-wise. Seeing that the team already knows what he can do in a role behind Embiid after playing in 49 games for Philly last season, Drummond is an ideal trade target in the coming weeks.
On Friday, it was reported that the Bulls are likely to push to move Drummond before Feb. 9.
Another veteran big the Sixers could target is Mason Plumlee of the Charlotte Hornets. The 32-year-old is having a career year and is on an expiring contract. It might take a little more to pry Plumlee away from the Hornets, but he is another center that could easily be plugged in behind Embiid.
One other name that could be on the Sixers’ radar is Kelly Olynyk. Given that the Utah Jazz are sure to be sellers at the deadline, the former lottery pick will likely be available.
Olynyk is a perfect fit as a backup center, but he is the most unrealistic of the three names mentioned. He will likely command the highest return, and his $12 million salary could be a roadblock in a deal getting done.
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Author: Kevin McCormick