The Sixers are in position to be among the league’s most active teams once the trade deadline passes and buyout season begins, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Philadelphia still has its entire $4.449MM room exception available and can offer players the chance for a significant role on a title contender.
Last year, the Sixers improved their shooting in the buyout market by adding both Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova. Bodner admits it’s hard to pinpoint who this year’s candidates will be, as much depends on how the playoff races develop between now and the deadline date of February 7.
He speculates Trevor Ariza could be a possibility if the Wizards aren’t in contention next month and can’t find a team willing to trade for his $15MM salary. Bodner mentions the Timberwolves’ Anthony Tolliver as another possibility, along with Knicks’ center Enes Kanter and Bulls’ center Robin Lopez, although neither is an ideal fit as a backup to Joel Embiid. The Knicks’ Courtney Lee and the Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith could both provide outside shooting, but Bodner believes the team has a greater need for perimeter defenders.
There’s more Sixers news to pass along, all courtesy of Bodner:
- Shake Milton is approaching the 45-day limit on his two-way contract and is likely to receive a standard deal soon. However, Bodner cautions that the new arrangement might be temporary if Philadelphia finds a couple of players to add through trades or buyouts. The Sixers acquired Milton’s rights on draft night after he was taken 54th overall by the Mavericks. He has appeared in 11 games this season, averaging 3.4PPG in 7.7 minutes per night.
- Bodner questions why GM Elton Brand has kept a roster spot open throughout the season when the team is already shorthanded because of injuries to Markelle Fultz, Zhaire Smith and Justin Patton. Brand has claimed it’s to preserve flexibility for future moves, but Bodner notes it would have been easy to add someone to the roster and cut them before salaries became guaranteed for the rest of the season last week.
- Jonah Bolden has played well, but his shooting issues make it risky to insert him into the starting lineup. Bodner states that Bolden makes the Sixers a better defensive team and provides offensive rebounding in addition to energy and athleticism, but he is hitting just 16.7% on 3-pointers, something opposing teams will exploit, especially in the playoffs.