2:03pm: The trade is official, the Sixers and Raptors have confirmed in press releases.
1:43pm: A pair of Atlantic Division rivals have agreed to a trade one day after playing each other, reports Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). According to Pompey, the Sixers are acquiring shooting guard Malachi Richardson from the Raptors, along with a 2022 second-round pick and the draft rights to Emir Preldzic. Toronto will receive cash considerations in return.
Richardson, 23, was acquired by the Raptors at last season’s trade deadline in exchange for Bruno Caboclo in a cost-cutting move, and this deal appears financially motivated as well. Toronto is over the luxury tax threshold for 2018/19, and will reduce its projected end-of-season tax bill by moving off Richardson’s $1,569,360 salary.
In parts of two seasons with the Raptors, Richardson appeared in just 23 games (4.7 MPG), averaging 1.4 PPG and 0.6 RPG in his very limited role. After trading him away, Toronto will have just 13 players on its 15-man roster and will have two weeks to get back up to the league-mandated minimum of 14 players.
The Raptors could make another trade before Monday’s deadline to add a 14th player, or could explore the buyout market later in the month for a veteran. Signing a player to a 10-day contract would also be an option, albeit just a temporary one — the club would have to get back up to 14 players again at some point once a 10-day deal expires.
As for the Sixers, they still have an open roster spot after letting Corey Brewer‘s second 10-day contract expire this week, so they won’t have to make a corresponding move to make room for Richardson. It’s not clear if the club envisions the former Syracuse standout filling that 15th roster spot for the rest of the season or if he’ll be waived at some point.
Preldzic, the 57th overall pick in the 2009 draft, appears unlikely to ever make the leap to the NBA at this point, so if the 76ers don’t have plans for Richardson, it looks like the 2022 draft pick will be the “prize” of this minor deal for Philadelphia.