Here are three early trade targets for the Sixers this 2023-24 NBA season as Daryl Morey looks to move on from the James Harden saga.
The 2023 offseason was a “here we go again” summer for the Philadelphia 76ers after James Harden publicly denounced GM Daryl Morey and demanded a trade from the organization. Fast-forward to Week 4 of the 2023-24 NBA season, even with the Harden hullabaloo spilling into the campaign, The Beard is no longer a member of the Sixers, and Philadelphia holds the best record in the NBA.
The vibes in Philly are as immaculate as they’ve been for a long time. And it’s showing with their play. Joel Embiid is once again off to an MVP-worthy start. Tyrese Maxey is in the midst of a massive breakout season for the Sixers and is playing the best basketball of his life. Everyone is playing their role to perfection. Most importantly, the franchise has moved on from James Harden, who is now 0-4 with his new team the Los Angeles Clippers.
Despite the flying start, many analysts and fans still tout the Sixers as the third-best team in the East, behind the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks. One has to think Daryl Morey has another deal up his sleeve to get Philadelphia on Milwaukee and Boston’s level. They already lost depth with Kelly Oubre Jr., who is having a stellar campaign, suffering an unfortunate accident. With that said, here are three early trade targets for the Sixers in the 2023-24 NBA season.
Malcolm Brogdon was on the trading block the moment he became a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. The 2016-17 NBA Rookie of the Year ultimately became the casualty of the trade that sent Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks, after the Blazers later flipped Jrue Holiday to the Boston Celtics. Perhaps Brogdon can play alongside the same man he beat for said Rookie of the Year, reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid.
Brogdon will be a great option to pair with Tyrese Maxey in the Philly backcourt. While Maxey has thrived as the primary ball-handler, he is just as or even more effective playing off-ball. Moreover, his presence wouldn’t run the 23-year-old budding star into the ground through a grueling 82-game campaign.
Brogdon is coming off a stellar 2022-23 season where he won the Sixth Man of the Year award with the Celtics. He averaged 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists while shooting a career-best 44.4 percent from beyond the arc.
However, Brogdon has well-documented injury issues throughout his career. There is a risk he may not be available when Philly needs him most. That should factor in when the Sixers make their decision on who to target this season in a trade.
Jerami Grant is another Blazer who could be a primary trade target for many teams in the NBA this season, including the Sixers. Portland just inked Grant to a massive five-year, $160 million deal this offseason.
Grant is on the books for $27.5 million this season. The Sixers have the necessary assets salary-wise to trade for the 29-year-old without the need to give up their core players such as Tobias Harris or even De’Anthony Melton. Philadelphia has a flurry of expiring deals that could entice motivate the Blazers to make a deal with them so they could get out of the Grant deal as soon as they can. In addition, the Sixers could include the picks they received from the Clippers in the return for Harden.
With Grant, the Sixers get a solid two-way wing they can slot alongside Embiid in the frontcourt. Initially regarded as a defensive specialist, Grant has developed into a polished offensive player over the last couple of years. He will be a great third or fourth scoring option every single night behind Embiid, Maxey, and potentially Tobias Harris, while bringing length and tenacity on the defensive side of the floor.
In nine games for the Blazers this season, Grant is averaging 22.8 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting 41.9 percent from the field.
A player similar to Jerami Grant, Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby is another prime trade target for the Sixers this season. He should be an ideal plug-and-play wing to slot in their current starting unit that consists mostly of Embiid, Maxey, Harris, and Melton.
Anunoby has established himself as one of the best 3-and-D players in the NBA. While he has developed into a decent offensive creator over the years, he still plays best in that 3-and-D role.
Anunoby led the league in steals a season ago and has shot at least 38 percent from beyond the arc three times in his career. In nine games so far this season, he is averaging 16.4 points and 4.0 rebounds, while shooting 51.0 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from three.
However, if the Raptors are willing to even trade Anunoby is the real concern for Philadelphia here. Masai Ujiri reportedly kept the 6-foot-7 wing out of any trade offers for Damian Lillard. So it’s hard to envision them giving in to whatever the Sixers have to offer. Add the fact that the Raptors are off to a better-than-expected start, this may sway Ujiri to keep his current core intact.
Nonetheless, if the Raptors eventually go into a free-fall midway through the season, perhaps they may look to blow it up and fully give the reins to Scottie Barnes. With that, OG Anunoby should be a trade priority for Toronto.