Reports have been conflicting as regards the Philadelphia 76ers and their expected stance ahead of the trade deadline, which is only a few weeks away. Many have long anticipated the team being a major player in the trade market, but some have started speculating that the front office may not be in line for a major deal with the team flourishing this season.
Nevertheless, the 76ers stand on business as one of the most well-equipped teams to strike a deal this season. With their slew of expiring contracts to match salaries and considerable draft assets at their disposal, Philadelphia’s brass should be in the bidding war for most players expected to be available and even be considered as favorites in most sweepstakes.
However, whether they’re willing to do that is a shaky pondering.
76ers rumored to be hesitant to trade veterans on expiring deals
The 76ers have been one of the best teams in the league this season, especially at full strength. Their success, especially after losing James Harden early, was unprecedented. That the team has gelled this well and this fast has seemingly made the front office vacillate on their mission to give the roster a significant facelift as soon as possible to maximize their championship window.
Turns out, Philly could still contend without making a landscape-altering trade. Nicolas Batum, Marcus Morris Sr., and Robert Covington — three of Philly’s new acquisitions in the Harden trade — have all settled in nicely and despite their contract situations, moving them for the lone sake of asset-fishing would be a stumble.
76ers beat writer Keith Pompey for The Philadelphia Inquirer noted that their veterans’ solid play has been a huge reason behind the front office taking a patient approach before the trade deadline.
"While they’re all expendable, Morris, Batum, and Covington have also played a major role in the Sixers’ success. One has to wonder how parting ways with any of them would impact the team’s chemistry and overall depth. Perhaps that is why the Sixers are taking a patient approach while exploring their options."
Certainly, the 76ers have been playing too well to simply shoehorn a trade out of thin air. Batum has been an important starter. Morris Sr. has started finding his groove as a key bench piece. Covington is a useful depth piece. All those players have on-court value aside from their obvious transactional appositive.
The Philadelphia 76ers should arguably still be on the lookout for clearer upgrades, but at this juncture, retaining financial flexibility for a better way to improve the roster through free agency and holding onto their players — even those on expiring contracts — should be a maneuver to be reliably banked on.