Should the 76ers should shy away from this trade
The biggest plight with moving from James Harden to Zach LaVine is that the 76ers will be getting a player who obviously plays a different position with a much different offensive game. Whereas Harden is a masterful table-setter as a point guard (first in assists per game last season), LaVine is inarguably more of a finisher.
LaVine boasts viable secondary playmaking, but he cannot function as a nominal point guard, meaning that the 76ers will be forced to shoehorn Tyrese Maxey into the role, who plays quite similar to the current Chicago Bull. The loss in playmaking, in this case, will be particularly drastic to Joel Embiid, as the Harden-Embiid pairing logged the most assist-to-point number in the recently concluded season.
In addition, it’s perhaps fair to express some reservations on how positional and skill set overlaps could stunt Maxey’s growth. The Sixers are rightfully high on the 22-year-old, and LaVine’s similar play style could cannibalize his role to some capacity in comparison to having a natural playmaker like Harden as his backcourt mate.
All things considered, should Philadelphia do this deal?
Ultimately, the 76ers should do this deal despite the imperfect fit, but only if they express unconfidence in the upcoming slate of free agents next year, which figures to be at the same level as this year’s. Hence, trying to clear cap space for next season by retaining Harden may not serve them too well.
On the flip side, the trading sphere for Harden hasn’t been too good either, as teams have not been able to match Philly’s asking price, implying some resistance to take on a flight risk like Harden. hence, if this trade idea actualizes somehow, the 76ers may not find better offers.