What are the downsides to the 76ers trading for Zach LaVine?
Flexibility next summer is within Philly’s reach. With two big contracts in Harris and Harden expiring, the 76ers could stand to free up as much as $66 million in cap space.
By trading for LaVine, who’s locked up until at least 2026, the 76ers shave a huge chunk of that. Such could be particularly limiting for the 76ers to improve on the margins as they also have to factor in Tyrese Maxey’s looming extension. And considering the huge contracts sent out this summer — a discount of any sort will definitely be out of the woods.
There are also some downsides to trading for LaVine on the hardwood. First, the 76ers don’t really have a pressing need for offense. With Maxey still on deck for a significant jump as a scorer and playmaker, shoehorning LaVine as the second option behind Embiid could stunt his development in those departments. Alas, profiling LaVine as a playmaker is quite an overreach as he functions best as a release valve and not an initiator.
Nevertheless, objectively speaking, the proposed trade is filled with more benefits for the Philadelphia 76ers. Not only are the downsides fixable, but this is easily a low-risk, high-reward situation that could help the franchise retain Joel Embiid and stand closer to the Larry O’Brien trophy soon.