Sixers: Proposed Buddy Hield trade makes no sense

Joel Embiid, Buddy Hield, Sixers trade proposal (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Buddy Hield, Sixers trade proposal (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Bleacher Report recently proposed one trade for every NBA team. While the Sixers have already made several moves to build out the roster this summer, Daryl Morey is never one to rest on his laurels. Philadelphia could very well be in the market for another franchise-altering trade if the right opportunity comes along.

The proposed trade from Bleacher Report, however, is no such opportunity.

Sixers get: Buddy Hield

Pacers get: Tobias Harris, 2028 first-round pick swap, 2029 first-round pick

Here’s how Andy Bailey justified the trade.

"“Philly has more than enough high-end scoring with Joel Embiid and James Harden. Filling out as much of the rest of the rotation as possible with shooting should be the aim (it probably is, given this offseason’s moves).Hield is four inches shorter than Harris and probably limits the team’s defensive ceiling a bit more than Harris, but he’s one of the best high-volume three-point shooters in league history.”"

Why the Sixers should avoid Buddy Hield-Tobias Harris trade

There are some surface-level pleasures with Hield: he is one of the great all-time shooters and would no doubt feast off of Joel Embiid and James Harden. In a vacuum, there may even be some level of justification for swapping Harris and Hield outright — especially when you consider the particulars of Harris’ contract.

But, to give up Harris (the best player in the deal by a solid margin) and a 2029 first-round pick (which falls way outside the range of Embiid’s prime) makes it a very difficult sell for me. The Sixers fleshed out the wing rotation with high-end defenders like P.J. Tucker and Danuel House, but the drop-off from Harris to Hield on that side of the ball is still steep. Plus, Harris played the best basketball of his career post-Harden trade. He upped his 3-point volume, made quicker decisions with the ball, and maintained his well-above-average efficiency.

Hield also has a long history of locker room spats and inconsistent play. He can bury 3s better than almost anyone, but his pride gets the best of him every now and then. That’s not to say Harris has always been the most selfless co-star, but he’s a proven winner who made significant strides late last season. Hield has never been on a good team before and he’s only one year younger than Harris.

The contract is the biggest factor, though. That would be Philadelphia’s primary motivator if this hypothetical trade were to happen. The decrease from Harris’ $37.6 million to Hield’s more modest (if still expensive) $20.5 million would drop Philly back below the luxury tax threshold, therefore increasingly financial flexibility. Both Harris and Hield are off the books in the summer of 2024.

That being said, the Sixers’ depth chart is positively pregnant with competent, NBA-level players. That improved flexibility only goes so far when the team is exclusively working the margins. Saving ownership money is never the primary motive behind a good trade. The move only makes sense if you believe Hield would serve the Sixers better than Harris, and I simply do not.

Tyrese Maxey’s next contract does not begin until the 2024-25 season, so you’re not even clearing room for that deal (Harris could presumably re-sign on a much smaller contract in a couple years after Maxey signs his inevitably lucrative extension).

Hield is a brilliant shooter, but Harris provides the Sixers with 3-point shooting of his own, a superior presence on defense, and the ability to go mismatch-hunting with his size and strength. Plus he’s familiar. The Sixers have overhauled the roster around Embiid too often. It will be nice to keep the same core in tact for once.

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