Young star reportedly on the trade block should intrigue the 76ers

Nick Nurse
Nick Nurse / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The trade season has unofficially began, but the Philadelphia 76ers are rumored to be taking a wait-and-see approach all the way before the deadline — a cautious, yet perfectly justifiable stance considering the team’s success early in their campaign.

A trade could even not unfold at all, but going by precedence, the 76ers brass is unlikely to simply pass up on opportunities to improve the team’s present and future outlook so long as the cost isn’t too steep in account of how the front office has set the groundwork for what’s expected to be a climactic offseason next year.

By the same vein, this latest development could just be the opportunity they may want to capitalize on.

The 76ers should consider trading for this young star reportedly now on the trade block

The San Antonio Spurs reeled in the biggest fish for more than a couple of decades when they drafted Victor Wembanyama, but as expected, their rebuild has resulted in far more losses than wins this season. As they figure out the right structure to cater to the budding superstar, some mainstays may not reside there for much longer.

Keldon Johnson, the Spurs’ leading scorer last season, has now been entrenched as a tertiary option behind Wembanyama and Devin Vassell, who figures to be a smoother fit. That’s why pundits are expecting San Antonio to gauge the market for the robust wing, who is actually signed to one of the best bargain contracts in the association, making an average of $18 million annually for the next four years.

The 76ers don’t have to make a big change this season, but taking ono Johnson’s contract shouldn’t paralyze them financially. Naturally, the hardest part would be convincing San Antonio’s heady front office that expiring contracts and draft compensation should get the deal moving.

Johnson, who won a gold medal with Team USA in 2021, may be putting up good numbers on a bad team, but he’s an adequate tertiary scorer who is unafraid to take it to the rack, efficient from three-point range and at the rim, and has no problem deferring. With Tobias Harris coming off the books next season, the youngster would be a nice fill-in as a versatile wing who can play both forward positions and some shooting guard.

Ultimately, the Keldon Johnson rumor mill is pretty raw at this juncture, and San Antonio is one of the most patient franchises there is. But should the Spurs make him available for bidding, the Philadelphia 76ers should explore being active on that front.

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