There’s nothing wrong with having some options, right?
Though the Sixers lead the Eastern Conference at 31-13 following their win Tuesday night over the Warriors and head coach Doc Rivers is pleased with the team he has, it doesn’t seem that president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is taking a complacent approach.
Ahead of Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline, the Sixers have shown interest in Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell, George Hill and Lonzo Ball, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday night.
We’ve previously reviewed the possibility that the Sixers trade for Lowry, the Raptors’ six-time All-Star and Philadelphia native, or Hill, who’d supplement the Sixers’ ball handling and outside shooting. It appears a Lowry deal would likely be the biggest move in the NBA before the deadline, and Wojnarowski characterized the chances that he gets traded as “gathering traction.”
How about Ball and Powell?
Future financial considerations are factors with both players. Powell is a good bet to decline his $11.6 million player option for the 2021-22 season, while Ball is set to become a restricted free agent after this year. As for this season, Ball has a salary of approximately $11.3 million, Powell $10.9 million.
Many Sixers fans will recall Ball in the context of the 2017 NBA draft. The Sixers ultimately traded up to draft Markelle Fultz with the first pick and the Lakers selected Ball at No. 2. Across four seasons with Los Angeles and the Pelicans, he’s averaged 11.4 points, 6.4 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals.
The 23-year-old Ball has dramatically improved his college shooting form and reaped the rewards statistically. He’s attempted 7.8 three-pointers per game this season and made 38.5 percent of them. Other qualities that should appeal to the Sixers specifically are that he forces turnovers well and likes pushing the pace.
On paper, Ball’s willingness to fire jumpers and natural instincts in transition would enable him to be effective next to Ben Simmons. He could also upgrade the Sixers’ bench units, which are currently reliant on Shake Milton creating shots for himself and players like Furkan Korkmaz and Matisse Thybulle converting catch-and-shoot threes at a high rate.
Powell, 27, is having the most productive season of his career for the 17-26 Raptors, posting 19.6 points per game and shooting 43.4 percent from three-point range.
He’s produced 1.11 points per pick-and-roll possession this season, according to NBA.com/Stats, which ranks in the 91st percentile. His scoring is the obvious draw, but it’s also worth noting that Powell possesses big-game experience, is tough and a solid defender.
Though Powell likely wouldn’t be the Sixers’ first or second option late in a close game, he could perhaps make life a bit easier for Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris.
Like with any trade discussions, the price is all-important. Both Powell and Ball are good players who could help the Sixers, but there’s surely a point at which Morey would be wise to walk away. And, until Lowry’s situation is resolved, that looms large over any conversation about potential trades.
We’ll have finality soon enough, but for now there’s plenty that might be on the table.