Dejounte Murray is the hero the Sixers need

Dejounte Murray, Sixers trade rumors (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Dejounte Murray, Sixers trade rumors (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

You might have heard that the Sixers are looking to trade All-Star point guard (or power forward, positionless basketball player, or enemy of Philadelphia, whatever you want to call him) Ben Simmons. Speculation has primarily focused on Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, and recently Jaylen Brown.

Unfortunately, none of those players are likely to become available this season. The Sixers face further constraints on their ability to make a trade: 1) the player coming to Philadelphia has to be ready to perform now, as Joel Embiid has a limited window of time of playing as a MVP candidate, 2) the player has to fill an existing hole on the team, such as small forward or point guard, not center, and 3) the salaries on either side of the trade must roughly match.

Dejounte Murray of the Spurs works for all three categories. First, the guy can flat-out play. He stuffs the state sheet on a nightly basis, averaging 17.7 points per game, 8.4 rebounds, and 8.5 assists. Second, he has many attributes the current team lacks: Speed, quick decision-making, and an alpha male personality on the court.

Why Dejounte Murray would plug the Sixers’ Ben Simmons-shaped hole

The two biggest knocks on a Murray trade are his relatively low 3-point percentage at 33 percent, and fit with current point guard Tyrese Maxey. The 3-point percentage is not that big of a concern for a few reasons: One, playing alongside Joel Embiid will give him more opportunities for open looks than he currently gets in San Antonio. Second, the Sixers already have many good 3-point shooters to surround Embiid. Third, Murray is at least a willing 3-point shooter, averaging over four a game, which is more than can be said about Ben Simmons.

The fit with Maxey might seem challenging because they are both ball-dominant guards who do not shoot threes very well. But Maxey is always at his best running the second unit when Embiid is off the court. Letting Murray take over the starting PG role will take some pressure off Maxey and let him thrive as a microwave scorer in the second unit.

The Sixers could also stagger the point guard and shooting guard minutes between Maxey, Seth Curry, and Murray to make sure Maxey still gets at least 24 minutes a game. Maxey is more of a combo guard than a true point guard. Letting him flip between the two positions will best enable him to thrive. Murray is also very long and could slide out to cover the three if the Sixers decided to try a small ball lineup. The fit might not be ideal, but it is certainly workable and better than the Embiid-Simmons fit.

To make the salaries work, the Sixers would probably have to get Doug McDermott and Keldon Johnson in the trade. That would give the Sixers more depth at a position of weakness right now.

From San Antonio’s side, Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich and Simmons have each expressed admiration for each other. Coach Pop might be the best chance for Simmons to reach his true potential. Switching Murray for Ben could be what the Spurs need to get into playoff contention. There’s a lot of reasons for both sides to do the trade.

Dejounte Murray is a future All-Star and could help Embiid get to the promised land this year and over the remainder of Joel’s title window. The other superstars aren’t available, it’s time for GM Daryl Morey to bring us Murray.

Next. 15 greatest seasons in franchise history. dark