To start, it is important to have a grasp of the reality of the situation. The Sixers are going as far as Joel Embiid takes them, everything else is secondary. Right now, Embiid has a severe injury and there appears to be serious doubt if he will return this year. Unfortunately, that is out of the front office’s control. This likely played a big factor in how they approached the deadline.
Between the vagueness of the reporting on Embiid’s injury, his injury history, and how recently he has been injured and underwent surgery, the truth is, that the front office probably does not have much more information than the general public in terms of a timeline. It makes sense for the team not to go all in if there is a significant chance Embiid does not suit up again this season. That being said, the Sixers are objectively a better team than before the deadline, while maintaining future flexibility.
It is also important to consider which players were and were not traded around the league. There were not any available big names that would’ve altered the course of the season. Daryl Morey cannot force an unwilling team to give us their big-name players, they were either not available or had an extraordinary price tag attached to them.
In total, the team acquired Buddy Hield, Cameron Payne, and two second-round picks in exchange for Furkan Korkmaz, Marcus Morris Sr., Danuel House Jr., Patrick Beverley, Jaden Springer, and four second-round picks.
To break it down, Buddy Hield is arguably the best player that was moved at this quiet trade deadline, and he is a perfect fit for this Sixers team that desperately needs shooting and guard play. To do this for such a minimal return is an excellent move by Morey. Sure, Hield is expiring and there is a chance he never plays a game with Joel Embiid, but if they do play this year, he could very easily be the missing piece for this team to contend and he cost nearly nothing. There were worse players and fits that were moved to other teams for a larger return than what Hield got for the Pacers.
There is not much else to be said about the Hield trade. Most fans and analysts would agree that this was a savvy move by the Sixers, the other trades are where there seems to be controversy.