The Philadelphia 76ers headed into the 2020 offseason with the goal of building a more competitive roster around franchise cornerstones Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. When the NBA lifts the transaction moratorium, they are expected to go after All-Star caliber players that would complement the duo. In the past months, the Sixers have been linked to several players who are expected to be available on the trading block this fall, including CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers.
According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, the Sixers could acquire McCollum even without giving up Simmons or Embiid. In the proposed scenario, Philadelphia would be sending a package that includes Tobias Harris and the No. 21 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft to Portland in exchange for McCollum. If the deal becomes a reality, Buckley believes it would help both teams improve their roster.
“It’s an interesting concept, especially if the Blazers could squeeze a first-rounder out of Philly. That wouldn’t be the easiest sell, as Harris’ 6’8″ size alone makes him less of a defensive liability, but McCollum’s sniping and table-setting should have a bigger impact than any of Harris’ secondary skills. Plus, Harris is a little more pricey (four years, $147.3 million), so it could happen. Portland would have a lethal three-man mix up front with Harris, Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, and it could even buy minutes here or there with all three on the floor together.”
The suggested trade would be a no-brainer for the Sixers as it would allow them to hit two birds with one stone. Aside from successfully getting rid of Harris and his lucrative contract, they would be acquiring a third star that would maximize the full potential of Embiid and Simmons on the court. With the team currently in a win-now mode, they wouldn’t mind losing a 2020 first-rounder to sweeten the deal.
McCollum would be a dream acquisition for the Sixers, giving them a very reliable third scoring option. Last season, he averaged 22.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.4 assists while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN. Though he’s capable of running the floor and making plays for his teammates, McCollum could also excel in an off-ball capacity, making him an ideal fit alongside Simmons and Embiid.
McCollum may have not shown a strong indication that he already wants out of Portland, but taking his talent to the Eastern Conference to join forces with Simmons and Embiid would undoubtedly give him a more realistic chance of winning his first NBA championship title in the 2020-21 NBA season.