Ever since the Sixers agreed to trade James Harden in late October, rumors have continued to circle as to whether or not they would pursue another star player via trade. Two of the names linked to the Sixers are OG Anunoby, and most recently Donovan Mitchell due to the difficult start to the season for the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, the biggest name in the spotlight of Sixers trade discussions has been Zach Lavine. Though they may not make a move until closer to the trade deadline, here are three reasons why the Sixers should trade for the Chicago Bulls guard.
1. Zach Lavine’s ability to create shots for himself would benefit the Sixers tremendously.
The 28-year-old Lavine is a proven scorer in the NBA. Here are his per-game averages in each of the last six seasons:
2023-24 21.0 (in 18 games played this season)
Outside of the efforts brought on by Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers have lacked consistent scoring at times this season. Tobias Harris’ numbers have dropped significantly in December after an impressive start to the season. The Sixers' notable depth has made it hard to predict who could have a good scoring output on a given night. While this could be a luxury at times, the Sixers need a reliable scoring threat to go alongside Embiid and Maxey. Zach Lavine would be a great fit alongside these two stars and give Philadelphia a reliable, consistent scorer night in and night out.
While the Sixers' loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday, December 8th could be viewed as an outlier on the season, it still proves this point. In the 108-104 loss to the Bulls, Embiid and Maxey combined to take 51 of the team’s 88 shot attempts. They also combined for 15 of the team’s 19 free throw attempts. This level of predictability would not bode well for Philadelphia in the playoffs. The other starters Melton, Batum, and Harris combined for just 12 shot attempts. Tobias Harris had just 3 attempts in 32 minutes played. When Embiid and Maxey combine for 69 points against a less-talented Chicago Bulls team, the Sixers should win. The added scoring threat of Zach Lavine would help this team tremendously.
2. The Sixers team as currently constructed is likely not good enough to beat the Boston Celtics in a playoff series.
In trading away James Harden and PJ Tucker, the return package the Sixers received did not exactly make them title contenders on paper. The Boston Celtics are still standing in the way of the Sixers, sitting at 20-6 on the season. While they may certainly have a puncher’s chance against the Celtics come playoff time, they would not be favored to win that series. While it remains to be seen whether or not Daryl Morey will seek to make a move before the deadline to better position the Sixers come playoff time, a trade for Lavine may be in the best interest of the team this year. Scoring is more difficult to come by in the playoffs, adding Lavine gives the Sixers a chance to compete with the offensive firepower of the Boston Celtics.
3. The Sixers do not need ALL of their current depth.
This Sixers team is very deep. While depth is nearly always a good thing, the Sixers could not possibly use all of their depth come playoff time. If the roster is fully healthy, some valuable trade assets would likely be sitting on the Sixer bench. Nick Nurse has a lot of decisions to make on a nightly basis outside of the current starting lineup of Maxey, Melton, Harris, Batum, and Embiid.
The Sixers have Robert Covington, Danuel House Jr., Paul Reed, Patrick Beverley, Kelly Oubre Jr., KJ Martin, Mo Bamba, Jaden Springer, and Furkan Korkmaz.
One could make an argument for each of these 9 players to earn significant minutes off the bench. 4 or 5 of these bench players will not earn many minutes (if any) come playoff time. The Sixers have draft assets they can use to acquire Zach Lavine, but they also have talented bench players that they could send to Chicago as well, without compromising their depth too much.