3 low-cost 76ers trades to finally get Joel Embiid some frontcourt help

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers are in the market for roster upgrades ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline. One area of need is backup center, with the Sixers reportedly in search of a more reliable traditional option for certain postseason matchups, according to Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.

Deja vu? Join the club. The Sixers have been eternally searching for the right option behind Joel Embiid. For a brief moment last season, we were all convinced it was Andre Drummond — until he was traded. Then Paul Reed flashed in the playoffs, but Doc Rivers promptly relegated him to obscurity.

The Sixers’ current backup center, Montrezl Harrell, has a long history of stinking up the postseason. Rivers clearly doesn’t trust Reed, no matter how ardently he suggests otherwise. P.J. Tucker small-ball lineups can work — and have worked in the past — but it’s not ideal as the only option.

So, here are three hypothetical trades to upgrade the backup center spot.

76ers trade for Magic’s Moritz Wagner

Orlando’s frontcourt logjam is well documented. Mo Wagner, the older brother of burgeoning Magic star Franz Wagner, has carved out a nice role for himself despite the bevy of quality options on the Orlando roster. That said, one has to imagine the tanking Magic would be willing to part with the 25-year-old.

So, we thus arrive at Jaden Springer. I’m frankly not sure what value, if any, Springer has on the trade market right now. He’s a former first-round pick, but only barely (29th overall). And he has played a grand total of 32 NBA minutes in 1.5 seasons. There have been legitimate flashes on the defensive end from Springer, but he’s a long way from contributing offensively in the league.

Can the Sixers swipe Wagner, on his expiring $1.8 million contract, for a low-risk bet on Springer who’s still on a team-friendly rookie deal? And maybe a protected second-round pick in the future? It’s worth a shot, perhaps.

Wagner can space the floor, fill the lane with fervor, and compete admirably on the boards. He’s pretty slick for a 7-footer, light on his feet and quite skilled. The Sixers saw his talent first-hand in their recent two-game home stand against the Magic.