Christmas was not the kindest to the Philadelphia 76ers after they fell short against the Jimmy Butler-less Miami Heat on the road sans Joel Embiid. Nevertheless, the team remains well on track to march into the playoffs as one of the top threats to win the championship as currently constructed.
That being said, there’s a reason why people still have them slotted beneath the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks in the East’s hierarchy. Despite having a solid supporting cast around their mighty franchise linchpins in Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, fand and pundits alike seem to insinuate that the lack of a third star could cause them to arrive at another bridesmaid finish this season if they fail to follow through on their active stance in the market.
Struggling East rival may have just gifted the 76ers a potential trade target
The Atlanta Hawks were one of those teams that quashed Philadelphia’s title hopes in recent years, but here’s no doubt that they have only declined since that striking upset. Trae Young hasn’t been adequate as their pilot, and even trading for Dejounte Murray hasn’t moved the needle. Put simply, they are middling in every sense of the word.
As a result, the Hawks are rumored to be going after another phase of a roster facelift, this time concerning Murray, who was just traded to them in the summer of 2022. The one-time All-Star’s numbers have remained ample and steady, but the team’s limited ceiling with him as Young’s sidekick has been pretty apparent.
The 76ers have no reported interest in Murray, but should the rumors ring true, he at least gives the front office an option as a legitimate floor-raiser this season in a trade market that has honestly trended into becoming staler by the day.
Murray hasn’t been as good as he was in his final year with the San Antonio Spurs on both ends (thanks to decreased usage), but he’s a clear upgrade over De’Anthony Melton who, while being a very capable plug-and-play piece for the 76ers, has struggled when forced to take on a bigger load.
The lanky combo guard is unlikely to sniff another All-Star appearance soon, but his contract is perfectly priced. That could be enticing for Philadelphia, though given their well-documented attempt for a largesse in next year’s free agency, they will have to cut that dream short.
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