Four Players the Sixers could trade not named Ben Simmons
The date of December 15, 2021 marks the day teams can trade players who were acquired during the NBA Offseason; According to ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, 84 percent of the NBA's 446 players will be eligible to be traded before the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline which is February 10th at 3 pm EST. The Philadelphia 76ers, like many NBA teams, are going to have to make some difficult decisions if they want to improve their team to better support Superstar Joel Embiid. Recent losses to the Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies have exposed their vulnerabilities on both ends of the court.
Because of the complicated nature of the NBA Salary Cap rules making any transaction a complex balancing act between making the numbers line up and getting value in return for a deal, the 76ers have to move other players aside from the obvious trade piece that is three-time All-Star Ben Simmons. Now we all know that Joel Embiid is a bona fide "untouchable" but we should be honest about the reality that no one else on the current roster is irreplaceable. So here are my top four candidates (not named Ben Simmons) for the 76ers to consider trading between December 15, 2021 and February 10, 2022 if they are serious about improving the roster:
*Furkan Korkmaz - 2021-22 Cap Number: 4.63 Million - Contract status: first year of a deal of 3 years worth 15 Million
-Even though he is currently averaging a career-high 22.2 Minutes Per Game, Furkan Korkmaz is shooting just 29.5 percent from three-point range and averaging a career-high in Turnovers Per Game (0.9). When everyone is healthy and available, his role has been marginalized and he is not a consistent reliable player at this point. Korkmaz could be a player included in a trade involving Ben Simmons or other players as an asset that would make a deal work numbers-wise. He is still an inexpensive bench contributor who as 24 years old still has time to grow and develop into a good role player for an NBA team.
*Shake Milton - 2021-22 Cap Number: 1.85 Million - Contract status: final guaranteed season of his three-year contract and has a Club Option for next season
-Shake Milton has grown into a player who is a streaky scorer/shooter who can be relied on for bench scoring or spot starts. The problem for Milton is that there is currently a "Better version" of him on the roster who has a higher ceiling of potential than him: Tyrese Maxey. In many of the speculated Ben Simmons trade scenarios, there are manly primary ball-handling Guards being talked about from the Spurs' Dejonta Murray to the Kings' DeAaron Fox to Portland's Damian Lillard plus don't forget about rumors involving the Nets' Guards James Harden and Kyrie Irving. If the 76ers were to acquire any of those players, that would force Tyrese Maxey out of the starting lineup and into a Sixth Man role along with push Shake Milton further down the bench along with cut his playing minutes down. Trading Milton as a part of a bigger deal would make sense with his potentially expiring contract and the low price tag for an acquiring team.
*Georges Niang - 2021-22 Cap Number: 3.3 Million - Contract Status: first year of a two-year deal worth 6.765 Million
-While he is shooting a respectable 38 percent from three-point range this season, that is his worst shooting percentage from deep since the 2017-18 NBA season and he is a below-average rebounder for a guy who is supposed to be a Stretch Four/Power Forward type player. Before the start of Tuesday's NBA action, the 76ers are the worst Rebounding team in the NBA averaging just 42.1 Rebounds per game. Niang's contract is not expensive for the type of player he is and Niang is probably a better fit on a team that doesn't need him to be as much as a contributor as the 76ers were hoping he could be.
*Tobias Harris - 2021-22 Cap Number: 35.995 Million - Contract Status: Third year of a five-year deal worth 180 Million
-This is the most controversial name on this list for a variety of reasons but if Daryl Morey and the 76ers organization are serious about putting the best team on the floor around Joel Embiid, they have to consider all options. Harris is a major part of the Sixers locker room and is a leader/mentor for many younger players on the team, so moving him would have some negative ramifications on the team chemistry. But the reality is that Harris for many Sixers' fans represents the guy the organization "settled for" when they let Jimmy Butler go to the Miami Heat. Plus Tobias Harris, like Ben Simmons, is a player acquired during a previous era of the organization under a different vision for the team on the court compared to what Daryl Morey is trying to implement now under Doc Rivers. Harris is shooting his worst three-point percentage (30.7%) since the 2013-14 NBA season and at 29 years old, some people assume that there is not much more growth in his game at this point in his career development. Harris is an even better person off the court than on it, so parting with him would be very hard for many in the 76ers organization.
Every team in NBA history that puts themselves in a position to win a championship has to make difficult decisions to change up the supporting cast around their superstar in order to get to the next level. Daryl Morey has never been afraid to make a big deal and his track record in Houston shows that most of his trades paid off. While everyone is focused on what the 76ers do with Ben Simmons, there are other players who are also options to be traded. Whether these players are pieces in a blockbuster deal involving multiple teams or assets in a smaller deal to improve the bench, we all should keep an open mind to what may happen over the next several weeks.