Sixers Trade/Buyout Target: Nemanja Bjelica
The Philadelphia 76ers are thought to be a missing piece or two away from title contention this season. The 28-13 Sixers faced the Sacramento Kings Saturday night. the Kings entered the evening on a two-game winning streak but playing the second game of a back-to-back.
But Sacramento is thought to be sellers heading into the March 25th trade deadline. A name that makes sense for the 76ers is Nemanja Bjelica, a 6'10" Power Forward who is a career 39% shooter from beyond the arc.
If Daryl Morey is interested, he has a couple of different ways to make a Bjelica move work. The first path would be via trade. Bjelica is on an expiring contract paying him 7.1 million dollars this season. The Sixers carry a trade exception that could be used as a matching salary, resulting from the Al Horford trade this past offseason. Some sort of draft compensation would be likely included to keep Bjelica from the buyout market.
The second path would be to wait for the trade deadline to pass and take the chance that the Kings buyout Bjelica who has played in just over half of the games this season. There is no indication that the 32-year-old forward is in the future plans in Sacramento.
Morey is likely waiting to determine if a competitive market develops for Bjelica before he commits assets to a rental. The ideal scenario would be more akin to 2018 when the 76ers signed Ersan Ilyasova in the buyout market. Ilyasova played a key role in the 76ers return to the postseason as a stretch big who could defend the 4/5 position.
The 76ers front office seems to have a set of available options heading into the deadline, but Morey has indicated recently that teams are hesitant to negotiate with the Eastern Conference leader. Still, the trade exception of 8.1 million will expire if a deal is not made and a player in the salary range of Bjelica makes sense on a lot of levels.
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