Does a Horford/CP3 Swap Make Sense for the Sixers?
The Sixers have a lot on their plate this offseason. Along with making changes in coaching and the front office, changes to the roster need to be made. One major change to the team should be finding a trade partner for Al Horford.
Getting out of Horford’s contract is going to involve taking on another big contract that another team wants off their books. That being said, there is one contract the Sixers could take on that potentially could benefit them.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this season. They have shocked the basketball world by being the fifth seed in the Western Conference led by an All-Star campaign from Chris Paul.
A Horford/Paul swap is something that has been talked about throughout the regular season. Although Paul’s contract will eat up a huge chunk of the Sixers’ cap space, it is a deal the team should seriously consider.
Chris Paul is coming off his age 34 season where he averaged 17.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 6.7 APG, and shot 36.5% from deep. He only has two years left on his current deal, but they are huge paydays for his age.
Next season Paul is owed $41.3 million and in 2021-2022 he is owed $44.2 million. These are huge payouts for a player that will be 35 and 36 years old in those seasons, but Paul checks a lot of boxes for the Sixers.
Ball handling and shot creation were two glaring issues for the Sixers in the postseason this year. Adding a player like Paul would give the offense a player that not only can create offense for others but himself as well. Paul would also be a great partner for Embiid and Simmons in pick-and-roll play.
The addition of Paul could also help Ben Simmons as he continues to grow as a forward. Having two elite playmakers on the floor together would allow Simmons to play off the ball more and continue to improve on his offensive game.
Since the departure of Jimmy Butler, there has been a question mark on late-game scoring in the Sixers’ offense. This is another area that Chris Paul could be inserted into, he has enough weapons in his offensive arsenal to either get a bucket or get to the foul line late in games. Paul was just outside the top ten in the league this season in PPG in clutch situations.
Another thing the Sixers have missed on the floor is a leader. After their final game against the Boston Celtics, Josh Richardson spoke about a lack of accountability within the team. Seeing what he has done with a young Thunder squad this year it’s no secret Paul is a leader on the floor and holds other teammates accountable.
Taking on a contract of this size will leave the Sixers with limited flexibility to fill out the bench, but his fit on the team will be much better than Horford’s. If you’re going to have a big money starting lineup the pieces might as well fit.
The Sixers are going to have to attach draft picks and other assets to get Oklahoma City to take Horford, but this is a deal the team should look into.
Kevin McCormick is the 76ers insider for 97.3 ESPN and 76ers editor for Sportstalkphilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevinMcC973.