Despite having struggles building chemistry with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, the arrival of Jimmy Butler has undeniably helped the Philadelphia 76ers improve their performance on both ends of the floor in the 2018-19 NBA season. The Sixers have won seven of their last 10 games and are currently sitting in the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 34-19 record.
Days before the February NBA trade deadline, the Sixers are no longer expected to engage in a blockbuster trade deal. However, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Sixers remain active on the trade market, searching for the “perfect bench piece” where one of the New York Knicks’ latest acquisitions, Wesley Matthews, emerged as one of their potential targets.
“The Knicks already have received multiple inquiries about Matthews. The Sixers are expected to have some interest at Thursday’s deadline as they search for the perfect bench piece, according to a source.”
Wesley Matthews was part of the trade package that the Dallas Mavericks recently sent to the Knicks to acquire Kristaps Porzingis. Matthews is currently an official part of the Knicks’ rotation and made his debut on Sunday night against the Memphis Grizzlies. Knicks head coach David Fizdale has opened up the possibility that Matthews could be part of their long-term future, but multiple signs are pointing out that the 32-year-old shooting guard may not finish the 2018-19 NBA season in New York.
“Both of those guys have played some [playoff] series on some really good basketball teams,” Fizdale said. “And who knows what the future holds for these guys? They’re ours now, free agents at the end of the year, but who knows? I want them to come here and enjoy the process with us and really help the young guys.”
Like fellow new arrival DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews is also on the final year of his contract. Trading him before the February NBA trade deadline for future draft assets will the best option for the Knicks’ than losing him in the 2019 NBA free agency without getting anything in return. At this point in his NBA career, Matthews could be better off joining a legitimate playoff contender like the Sixers than staying on a rebuilding team.
Matthews could be a great addition to the Sixers, giving them a veteran who could boost their bench scoring. In 44 games he played with the Mavericks this season, Matthews averaged 13.1 points on 41.4 percent shooting from the field and 38.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
As of now, it remains unknown what type of trade asset the Sixers are willing to offer to convince the Knicks to send Wesley Matthews to Philadelphia. Expect more rumors to circulate before the February NBA trade deadline.