Morey, Sixers Get Up Close look at Potential Trade Target Zach Lavine
The Philadelphia 76ers ended Friday night leading the Eastern Conference standings at 20-10 after a 112-105 win versus Chicago. And yet, something feels incomplete about the team. Conventional thinking around the league is that the 76ers need one more piece to be thought of as certain contenders for a championship.
And on Friday night, one of the potential missing pieces, Zacha Lavine, visited. The likely all-star leads the 12-15 Chicago Bulls in scoring by a wide margin. At just over 28 points per game, the 6'5" combo guard is an offensive nightmare for opposing defenses. Lavine's offensive game is tailor-made for Daryl Morey's philosophy of shots at the rim and from beyond the arch. His 43% from three, heading into Friday night, is the best of his career. His shot chart is the picture of what the modern NBA rewards analytically.
When asked about Lavine, Joel Embiid said Lavine "is a great player. You know, he's been fantastic all year. I think he should be an all-star".
KEEP READING: Here are 50 of the most famous sports goofs
So why would Chicago consider trading Lavine? Well for all his immense individual talent, wins have not come as a result. The Bulls and 76ers have some natural alignment as trade partners and there are multiple ways to make a deal work, should Marc Eversley, Bulls GM, and former 76ers front office executive, decide to rebuild the team.
Thursday night Daryl Morey spoke on a Clubhouse session about trade negotiations and trying to present a potential trade partner with multiple options.
Morey said that presenting a "multi-offer" can help get the other team out of thinking of trade negotiations as a zero-sum game, where there must be a winner and a loser. Morey said that "a lot of what you want to do is get them out [of that thinking]. Generally, it almost never is." Said Morey.
DIISCLAIMER: No leaks from the 76ers organization are included in the below hypothetical scenarios. Having said that, a trade for Lavine is very much consistent with the type of big swing move Morey has made in the past.
Zach Lavine by the numbers: (per Cleaning The Glass)
On Friday Lavine Scored 30 points on 9/28 shooting in front of Morey, Rivers, and Sixers owner Josh Harris. His Chicago Bulls pushed Embiid and a 76ers team playing without Ben Simmons to the wire. Lavine started the game just 5/17 over the first three quarters but finished strong to keep the Bulls in the game until the final moments.
So what would different packages for a Lavine to the Sixers trade look like? Well, there is the star-for-star scenario, the star for a package of picks and prospects, and the star for Veteran and young players option.
Option 1 - Picks and Prospects
Sixers send Danny Greeny, Terrence Ferguson, 2 first-round picks, and 2 pick swaps.
If Chicago wants to bottom out and rebuild with a war chest of picks, expiring contracts, this package provides that. Under this scenario, Chicago would walk away with mostly 2 picks and cap space to sign 2 max contract free agents in this coming offseason. Moving Lavine for expiring contracts would put the Bulls at 50 million in committed salaries allowing them to spend over 60 million on free agents and remain under the projected cap 2021/21 cap of 112 million.
If Chicago thinks it can sign Paul George or Kawhi Leonard, or another top-tier free agent wing, they might entertain this. (unlikely). The pick swaps are simply insurance and no risk sweetener in case of major problems in Philadelphia.
Option 2 - Green, Thybulle, and Milton
Sixers send: Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, Danny Green, Terrence Ferguson, and a first.
This is more like the James Harden trade. If the Bulls want to acquire two players who were scouted and drafted by Marc Eversley, this trade accomplishes that. Milton plays a similar role offensively as Lavine and Thybulle is a disruptive defensive player. This trade would gut the 76ers depth, essentially trading 3 of their top 8 rotation for 1 more superstar talent.
This is a high-risk trade scenario for the 76ers in season, but it would free up minutes in a rotation to offer to players who may hit the buy-out market.
Option 3 - Star for Star
Sixers Send: Ben Simmons
Bulls send: Zach Lavine, Tharddeus Young.
Ben Simmons sat out the past two games after being unfairly left off of the voting for the NBA All-Star game. Simmons has been a swiss army knife, queen of the chessboard type player for Philadelphia. The 76ers have won more than 65% of all games both Simmons and Embiid have played together. If the Sixers truly believe in the Daryl Morey philosophy of offensive basketball, then they might view Lavine as a better fit next to Embiid than Simmons.
For the Bulls, this unquestionably makes them a better defensive team, and likely makes them more dangerous on a nightly basis in transition. This trade probably vaults the Bulls into the playoffs sooner than any other move.
But wait.... There's more...
Post negotiation, negotiation...
"And then the other tactic and it's really helpful is post negotiation. You can do almost anything in post negotiation negotiating." Said Morey Thursday evening when speaking generally about trade scenarios he's used in the past. "If there's a level of trust hopefully where you come to a deal with someone who shook hands, it's a done deal." Said Morey "Once it's over because some people are reluctant to share all their preferences before a final deal is made." Said Morey speaking about the challenge of getting to know what the other team might value. "Once it's over, you can say okay that deal is done, that will always happen unless both of us agree to a new one. Now let's put every card on the table and say, you put this player in the deal but would you rather put that one, because if you would like to shift at the end.[in ways] that are beneficial to both sides, that maybe you couldn't get to when there was the stress of one side of the other not trusting that you're not willing to reveal all your value preferences".
So let's say a deal is agreed to, the bones of the deal are in place, but one team would also make it larger, advancing both team's goals a bit more aggressively.
Sixers send: Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, Mike Scott, Terrence Ferguson
Bulls send: Zach Lavine, Tomas Satoransky, Lauri Markkanen
This is a much larger deal with more risk, but more upside for Philadelphia. This deal makes Chicago a likely playoff team and raises the ceiling for Philadelphia more than option 3. Adding Satoransky and Markkanen add more shooting and ball-handling, for a playoff series.
So as the 76ers ownership, front office, and coaching staff all get an in-person look at Lavine, they have to be enticed about the potential fit. Morey knows how difficult acquiring a superstar player can be, but he also knows how crucial it is to a team's championship aspirations. Morey has said before that if a team has a 5% chance at a ring. it should go "All-In". Any one of the above scenarios would constitute just such an all-in move.
KEEP READING: Here are 50 of the most famous sports goofs