The turn of the new year is a very busy time for NBA general managers. With a little under two months until the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 23, GMs across the league are constantly making calls to other teams’ front offices in the hopes of making a deal to better their franchise.
In his first full season at the helm for the Sixers, Bryan Colangelo has a lot of fan expectations on his plate regarding this date. Everybody knows that the Sixers need to move at least one of the big men on their roster, which will be difficult to do when everybody in the league can see your hand.
For the past year, there have been rumblings of the Sixers wanting to trade either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor. Those rumblings have heavily affected their trade value. Nonetheless, here’s three potential deals the Sixers could make next month as the deadline nears.
1. Jahlil Okafor to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kris Dunn
Kris Dunn’s rookie season is off to a tumultuous start in Minnesota. Through 35 games, Dunn is averaging a mere 4.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists in his young career. Coming off of a Big East Player of the Year campaign last year with 16.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 2.5 steals per game for Providence, many figured Dunn’s size and stature at the point guard position would give him an easy transition into the NBA. It hasn’t happened, but many feel like the combo guard can turn things around.
Jahlil Okafor has proven offensively that he can hang with the best in the NBA, now in his second season with the Sixers. His career averages of 15.1 points and 6.3 rebounds are still among the top of his draft class at the age of just 21. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported in December that the Timberwolves were looking for a big man to add front court play to the roster and Okafor would fit the bill just fine.
The trade would fill needs for both teams, while continuing the youth movement for each franchise.
2. Nerlens Noel to the Boston Celtics for Avery Bradley
Every general manager in the NBA wants a player like Avery Bradley. Bradley, now in his seventh season in the NBA, is off to the best start of his career. He’s averaging 17.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists while continuing to be one of the best wing defenders in the NBA.
The Celtics have been looking to add a defensive big man to their lineup, ever since they added Al Horford in the offseason. Nerlens Noel, raised in the Boston area, would fit in nicely alongside of Horford in the green and white. Noel has proven to be an effective defender, rebounder and shot blocker in his three-year tenure in Philadelphia. He finished in the top 10 in steals (10th) and blocks (eighth) in the 2014-15 season and has rated in the top 10 for his defensive box plus/minus score in the past two seasons as well.
Celtics broadcaster Mike Gorman told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” that, “the strength of his game is what Boston could use right now, which is a rim protector and shot blocker. … I think chemistrywise, I know him a little bit and he seems like a really good kid. So I think he’d fit in the locker room well.”
Bradley might be thought of too highly in Boston to be shipped to Philly, but if they’re trying to land Noel they may need to pay the price.
3. Ersan Ilyasova to the Memphis Grizzlies for Troy Daniels
Troy Daniels has been one of the biggest stories in the league so far in the 2016-17 season. Entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2013, Daniels has played limited minutes on three different teams (Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets) in the past three seasons before landing in Memphis this season. Daniels has played his way into the rotation, averaging 10.4 points in 20.2 minutes per game with the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies, who are stacked at the guard spots, may want to make a deal for three-point specialist Ersan Ilyasova as they gear up for a playoff run this season. Ilyasova, acquired by the Sixers in November, has played very well for the Sixers of late, averaging 14.0 points and 6.4 rebounds in 27.2 minutes per game. He can really stretch the floor from the power forward spot, shooting 40 percent this season.
The Sixers would get rid of an expiring deal, while adding backcourt depth in the process.