The Philadelphia 76ers have one of the best records in the East, but their win-loss card could have been even better had Joel Embiid not missed seven games due to injury. In those outings, the team has gone 2-5, a not-so-inspiring mark considering that the reigning MVP is not really an NBA iron man.
Paul Reed and Mo Bamba have been he prime beneficiaries of additional court time in contests sans Embiid, but the two have been a tad too inconsistent to handle larger responsibilities. Hence, the backup center spot should be something worth upgrading for the 76ers front office. Luckily, the trade market has the perfect second-unit big man the team should pursue.
The 76ers should trade for this veteran backup big man
One player widely believed to be available for trade is Utah Jazz center Kelly Olynyk. The 32-year-old is on an expiring deal, and with the team starting to funnel minutes onto their young core players, the Jazz will inevitably try to liquidate him for assets before the deadline so as to avoid losing him for nothing.
Olynyk is currently averaging 8.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.7 assists in just 21.9 minutes per game on 55.9 percent shooting from the field, which includes an impressive 41 percent conversion rate on three-pointers.
Few big men, especially those coming off the bench, has been better than Olynyk this season. Unlike Reed and Bamba, hes a battle-tested veteran with a skillset malleable enough to fit different roles. He’s a crafty playmaking big who is a bona fide threat from the perimeter and finishes plays at a high clip. He can also still play the 4 in spurts, potentially giving the 76ers the wiggle room to trot out bigger lineups with Embiid manning the paint.
Fortunately, Philadelphia also has a slew of ways to match salaries and make a deal work, either by making a direct swap with one of their bevy of expiring deals, to consolidating players on small-scale contracts.
With the Philadelphia 76ers continuing to struggle for the most part without Joel Embiid, trading for Kelly Olynyk would be a nice, win-now move that epxands their margin of error a little bit when the reigning MVP is sidelined with injury.