While a lot of NBA trade rumors were put to rest once the official trade deadline hit, it hasn’t stopped some speculation about how teams could make moves ahead of the 2017-18 NBA season. In particular, a team with plenty of assets and the potential for really getting their roster in order is the Philadelphia 76ers. Could the Sixers trade one of their guards since the position is loaded on their current roster? Also, which player will Philly target in this summer’s NBA Draft to further improve their team’s chances at success?
Philadelphia fans know there were all sorts of Sixers trade rumors over the past months heading into February’s deadline, with the team actually making a move to send Nerlens Noel over to the Dallas Mavericks. Jahlil Okafor stayed put while promising stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were sidelined with injuries. Both of those players are expected to be active next season if all goes according to plans. The team also is looking towards at least one NBA Draft lottery pick to add more talent to their lineup.
A recent ESPN report referencing The Intelligencer‘s Tom Moore suggests Philadelphia may look to unload one of at least two guards from their roster ahead of the next season. The first name mentioned is Nik Stauskas, who is in his second season with the team and averaging 9.1 points, 2.1 assists, and 2.7 rebounds a game. He’ll be in the final year of a rookie-scale contract and could make $3.8 million in the 2017-18 season, so the team may simply waive him if there are no teams willing to make a trade.
Stauskas, a product of Michigan University, was originally traded from the Kings to Philadelphia in 2015 along with Carl Landy and Jason Thompson. Sacramento received the rights to Arturas Gudaitis and 2015 NBA Draft pick Luka Mitrovic. Philly also picked up the right to swap first-round picks with Sacramento, if they choose to do so this year.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) March 7, 2017
Another guard mentioned on the team’s guard-heavy roster is Timothy Luwawu-Cabbarot who was a 2016 first-round draft pick. His averages sit at just 4.6 points, 0.8 assists, and 1.7 rebounds a game this season. It’s suggested by Moore that the Philadelphia 76ers may opt to keep Stauskas and get rid of Luwawu-Cabbarot instead.
The team is hoping for the return of two of their current guards next season; T.J. McConnell and Gerald Henderson. While Henderson is a veteran star who can help out most rosters, McConnell seems to also be developing into a suitable player after just a year of action so far. In the case of Stauskas, he was a player touted for his shooting abilities heading into the 2014 NBA Draft and was taken with the No. 8 pick.
He currently ranks as the best three-point shooter percentage-wise on the Sixers’ roster at a rate of 36.8 percent of his shots made. That also ranks him at No. 72 in the league for the stat. Some feel with a little more time to develop he could certainly move up into the top 20 or 30 three-point shooters in the NBA.
The good news is that it appears Philadelphia has a lot to work with going forward. As mentioned, they’re hoping to have their two biggest young talents, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, back on the court together to take over next season. In addition, NBA mock draft speculation has them drafting Jayson Tatum out of Duke with the No. 4 pick in the 2017 draft.
It’s also noted that if the Los Angeles Lakers somehow don’t receive a top-three pick when the team order is announced for the lottery, their pick will go to Philadelphia by default. That would give the Sixers more options to work with in terms of trades and building the roster they ultimately want.
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