The Philadelphia 76ers will need to make a move before the NBA trade deadline is over. While Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are clearly the cornerstones of the team, the 76ers are still weak in a few areas. One cause for concern is the shooting guard position. While J.J. Redick has held that down since signing a free agent deal this offseason, his contract may make for a valuable trade piece itself.
With the Los Angeles Clippers flipping the switch on their rebuild, Lou Williams has become a hot name in the trade market, according to Slam. The same can be said for Tyreke Evans of the Memphis Grizzlies. However, the player the 76ers must go for is Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers. While Williams is a better scorer than Clarkson at this point and Evans is another vet, the addition of Clarkson still outweighs both.
Yes, Williams and Simmons in the same backcourt will give opponents fits with Williams’ ability to hit from the perimeter and drive to the basket. Plus, you add in his ties to the 76ers community from his earlier days then this looks like a slam dunk of a deal. However, there are a few drawbacks. One is that the Clippers will possibly want something big in return such as a first round pick in 2018 or a player like Dario Saric. The Sixers cannot let that happen. The second drawback is that while Williams can surely put the ball in the basket, he’s 31-years old, and the 76ers are looking to get younger, not older.
With Evans, the issue is much as the same for Williams. He can score as evident by his 19.5 points per game average but he doesn’t fit this team. He has ties to a local Philly product, however, he’s on a one-year deal just like Redick and Lou Williams. What the 76ers need now is a stay player, not someone who can leave after the season.
This is why Clarkson is a better trade for the 76ers than Evans or Williams.
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) January 31, 2018
Let’s say the Lakers, Grizzlies, and Clippers all want a first-rounder for their players. The 76ers, set to make the playoffs this season, will have a pick out of the lottery in the 2018 NBA Draft. The Grizzlies are looking to unload talent for picks and the 76ers may not have what they want. The same can be said for the Clippers. With that, the Lakers will be the best team to make a deal with. They are just as young as the 76ers and the Lakers do not have a first rounder in this coming draft. Their pick ironically may go to these 76ers or the Boston Celtics. However, by trading Clarkson to the 76ers, they can walk away with a first rounder.
Also, by adding Clarkson, the Philadelphia 76ers will get a player who’s just 25-years old and signed through 2020. This is huge as Williams and Evans are both free agents at the end of this season. By trading for one of them, the 76ers could either let them walk and lose out on a first rounder or try to sign either one to a bigger deal in the offseason. Neither move is smart on the 76ers part.
Williams is a former Sixth Man of the Year winner and will cost some team close to $10-12 million per season. The same with Evans. He’s made a remarkable turnaround this year, and his market price will be well above the $3 million he made this season. If the 76ers were smart, Clarkson is the player to go after. He’s young, versatile, and can score from anywhere on the floor and he’s signed through 2020. This is why Clarkson is a stay player.
The first rounder they may have to surrender will be well worth it for Clarkson. His price tag for the next two seasons is $12.5 and $13.3 million. Those are doable numbers for the team. The 76ers, while contending for the playoffs, are not like most in the playoff field. While the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, and Oklahoma City Thunder are thinking about the now, the 76ers are trying to win while still building for the future.