The Sixers weren’t able to land Kyle Lowry at the trade deadline, but they upgraded their backcourt with the deal that brought George Hill from the Thunder, write Rich Hofmann and Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Philadelphia continued to pursue Lowry even after the Hill trade was complete, according to the authors, but the Raptors weren’t willing to lower their asking price before the deadline arrived.
Hill brings plenty of playoff experience, Hofmann and Bodner point out, and he gives the Sixers another ballhandler and shooter off the bench as well as a capable perimeter defender. He also provides a lot more salary flexibility than Lowry, who will be in line for a sizable contract in free agency. Hill is set to make $10.47MM next season, but only $1.275MM of that is guaranteed. He hasn’t played since having surgery on his right thumb in late January, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey expects him to be ready soon.
“What I’m trying to do is maximize our chance of winning the title over that (three-to-five year) window, with more weight for this year. So if there’s a move that ups our odds a little bit more this year, but really hurts our odds in the future, then that doesn’t make sense,” Morey said in explaining why he passed on Lowry. “If it’s a move that ups our odds a decent amount, but doesn’t affect our future odds, then that’s a move that looks pretty interesting. And so, I think this move very materially increased our championship odds, and also kept our ones in the future preserved at a very high level. ”
There’s more this morning from Philadelphia:
- Saturday marked coach Doc Rivers‘ first trip back to Staples Center to face the Clippers, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Rivers spent seven years with the franchise and helped guide it through the Donald Sterling controversy in 2014. “I think the franchise was on the brink, if you know what I’m saying,” Rivers said, “not only how we dealt with it. But more that we responded by playing well enough to win a (playoff) series that I thought for the franchise was a must-win series because of what we were going through.”
- Joel Embiid is making progress in recovering from the bone bruise on his left knee, Bodner tweets. Embiid, who hasn’t played since March 12, has resumed on-court basketball activities and is working on his conditioning.
- Bodner also offers details (via Twitter) on Paul Reed‘s contract, which was converted to a standard deal this week. The G League Most Valuable Player signed a three-year agreement, but only the rest of this season is guaranteed. Philadelphia used a portion of its mid-level exception to add a third year to the minimum-salary deal.