The Philadelphia 76ers entered the 2018-19 NBA season as one of the top favorite NBA teams to fully dominate the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference. However, after struggling earlier this season, the Sixers realized that they need to make a huge upgrade on their roster in order to strengthen their chance of beating Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and the Milwaukee Bucks in a best-of-seven series.
Recently, the Sixers engaged in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire All-Star forward Jimmy Butler. The arrival of Butler is expected to boost the Sixers’ performance on both ends of the floor, which could greatly help them in contending for the NBA championship title this season. However, the Sixers might not be done improving their roster.
According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer (h/t USA Today’s Lonzo Wire), the Sixers want to improve their shooting and see Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of the Los Angeles Lakers as one of their potential trade targets before the February NBA trade deadline.
“Philadelphia still has some work to do to get to (the Finals). I mean, they traded arguably their best shooters aside from JJ Redick. Now their depth is depleted, they need to add shooting. I had in my article on Saturday that they still retain interest in Cavs wing Kyle Korver. I’ve since heard that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on the Lakers is a guy they could have eyes for.”
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) November 14, 2018
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who has a career average of 11.8 points on 40.9 percent shooting from the field and 34.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc, could be a good replacement for Robert Covington. Though he’s currently struggling in his second season with the Lakers, a change in scenery could help the 25-year-old shooting guard regain his rhythm and confidence.
However, since Caldwell-Pope just signed a new contract in the recent free agency period, the Sixers will have to wait until mid-December to make a deal with the Lakers. A potential trade involving Caldwell-Pope will be complicated for the Lakers and the Sixers since they will first need to get consent from the veteran shooting guard before engaging in any negotiation.
Keith Smith of RealGM explained on Twitter that Caldwell-Pope’s current contract with the Lakers has a no-trade clause, along with a 15 percent trade bonus. If he will be traded, his salary will increase from $12 million to $13.8 million. Aside from Caldwell-Pope’s contract, it also remains questionable if the Sixers have enough trade assets that can convince the Lakers to make a deal. Like the Sixers, the Lakers are also in win-now mode and currently trying to address the areas they need to improve on their roster before the real battle begins in the postseason.