Despite relative success to begin the season, most have penciled the Philadelphia 76ers in as a team to watch out for in the trade market. However, given their impressive play, it’s definitely unsurprising that the front office prefers to slow play things with the deadline still more than a month away.
One of the players linked to the 76ers at the first instance after the James Harden blockbuster trade was Bulls guard Zach LaVine, who was widely believed to be on the trading block. The two-time All-Star has underperformed to begin the season, but he remains a potent threat on offense as an efficient three-level scorer for the most part.
NBA insider says the 76ers are no longer a team to monitor in the Zach LaVine sweepstakes
With many still not bullish on Philly’s ceiling amid a lack of a third star, the potential fit with LaVine made sense early on. However, it appears that the franchise is already ducking from waging a bid for his services.
NBA insider Marc Stein recently bared that the 76ers shouldn’t be looked at as a team in dire want of a trade for the All-Star, implying that the front office has set their sights on players of a different archetype and financial heft.
"League sources say that Philadelphia, if it indeed makes an in-season trade with the assets received in the Halloween deal that sent James Harden to the LA Clippers, is still prioritizing a two-way player, as well as a move that does not limit its future optionality."- Marc Stein
No offense to LaVine, but he’s certainly not tabbed as a two-way force of any sorts. His scoring prowess aside, while his defensive shortcomings have been too overstated — he’s actually more than viable when engaged on that end — no one will mistake him as a floor-raiser on defense.
In addition, LaVine has three more years (with a player option on the final year) remaining on his contract. Thus, trading for him would limit the 76ers’ spending power next year when some big names are expected to hit free agency.
Ultimately, it’s arguably for the better that the Philadelphia 76ers are withdrawing themselves from the Zach LaVine sweepstakes. Not only does he fail to address any of the team’s more pressing needs, but he also figures to compromise the financial flexibility the franchise so cautiously weaved recently.
Oh, and they should be eyeing a different Bulls guard if we’re being honest.