NBA Rumors: Sixers eying 3 stars to pair with Embiid after Harden trade

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

With James Harden no longer a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, their attention now turns to finding his long-term replacement. After receiving three expiring contracts, two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and a pick swap, the Sixers might not have gotten a star in return for theirs. That being said, they did get the assets needed to try and acquire one ahead of the February trade deadline.

With the Sixers having the assets needed to potentially trade for a star to pair with MVP Joel Embiid and rising star Tyrese Maxey, Hoops Hype’s Mike Scotto’s latest intel reveals who they have in mind. According to Scotto, the Sixers are interested in Zach LaVine, OG Anunoby, Donovan Mitchell, and Bojan Bogdanovic.

Can the Sixers land any of their in-season trade targets?

Interestingly, almost all of the players Scotto links to the Sixers are set to become free agents after this season. That is interesting because the Sixers are set to have up to $64 million in cap space. That suggests that Philadelphia is looking to trade for players that they could technically target this summer and sign outright.

That might seem like a bad strategy because it would require them to give up assets instead of signing them and holding onto their draft picks. That might be their backup plan, but the Sixers can’t afford to punt this season and appear ready to pursue the player mentioned. Doing so would allow them to have them for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, then use their bird rights to re-sign them this summer.

That could allow the Sixers to trade for two of their targets and re-sign them for more than they could have otherwise signed them for. With $64 million in hypothetical cap space, they would have a hard time fitting say Mitchell and Anunoby into that space. However, they could theoretically use Tobias Harris’ $39 million expiring contract in a deal for LaVine and Marcus Morris’ big expiring contract in a swap for Anunoby.

If Scott’s intel is correct, then the Sixers may have their work cut out to add some of the players on their trade wish list. Despite that, the Harden trade increases their ability to bolster their roster around Embiid and Maxey.