No matter how the James Harden trade saga ends, the Philadelphia 76ers can’t afford to undergo a lost season. While that may be hard to maneuver under the circumstances that Harden has placed them in, there are some secondary moves that the Sixers could make even after the Harden situation is settled to improve the supporting cast.
In fact, it would be surprising if there wasn’t a follow-up move for the Sixers after a Harden trade. Philadelphia reportedly has hopes of targeting another All-Star talent to place next to Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid once Harden is moved, but it’s pretty rare for those types of players to be traded in-season.
If the Sixers do explore the trade market to find suitors to help fill the role of Harden this season, they’ll likely have to shop in the bargain bin – not necessarily players that are not effective or productive, but players that wouldn’t exactly have a huge asking price on the open market.
Under the assumption that Harden is eventually going to get traded, we explore five bargain trade targets that could help the Sixers replace the All-Star’s production this season.
T.J. McConnell, Indiana Pacers
I’m not sure if the Indiana Pacers would be open to trading T.J. McConnell but there is a path toward that possibility. After an encouraging rookie season, the Pacers could look to give Andrew Nembhard more minutes as a backup guard. That could be difficult with a current rotation of Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin, Buddy Hield, and McConnell. The addition of Bruce Brown also takes minutes on the wing.
If the Pacers do end up exploring the trade market for McConnell, the Sixers should kick tires on the idea. He wouldn’t cost much and is still productive in a reserve role. He’s coming off a season in which he averaged nine points and five assists on 54 percent shooting from the field.
He could play a backup role for the Sixers or even work as a stopgap option at the point guard position.