After the Jimmy Butler trade, it’s even more important for the Philadelphia 76ers to acquire another shooter like Kyle Korver.
As TSS and other media outlets have noted recently, the Jimmy Butler trade may have a negative impact on the Philadelphia 76ers‘ shooting. It will certainly make them a more talented team, but the question of fit remains.
That makes acquiring another shooter even more important. Kyle Korver is the main option that has been reported, and it makes too much sense. He’s a veteran role player on a team trying to tank, which makes him a perfect candidate to be traded.
There are pros and cons to trading for him, of course. On the positive side, the Philadelphia 76ers could keep at least one (if not two) of Korver, J.J. Redick, and Landry Shamet on the floor at all times, which would create tremendous spacing for franchise’s cornerstones.
Of course, he can also be attacked on defense in the playoffs, especially if he starts alongside Redick. The Celtics exploited Redick without having Gordon Hayward or Kyrie Irving, so the issue will certainly creep up again if the Sixers make a deep playoff run.
However, let’s aside the question of if the Sixers should get Korver and pivot to how they can get him. Their interest is reportedly pretty strong, so we’ll assume that they do in fact want him.
Trying to create a trade for Korver is surprisingly difficult, because the 76ers don’t really have many mid-size contracts. Wilson Chandler’s contract is too big to be helpful.
Most others, like Justin Patton, Jonah Bolden, T.J. McConnell, and more are too small to be aggregated without including three or more players, which also doesn’t really seem to be a deal that would benefit either team. The three contracts that are close in value to Korver’s are Mike Muscala, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz.
The easiest trade to create is Muscala and Furkan Korkmaz for Kyle Korver, with perhaps a second round pick added. The Cavaliers have reportedly wanted a first round pick for Korver, and won’t just take multiple seconds, but Korkmaz himself is a former late first. They’d get a decent young prospect and an expiring contract that they could either keep or release for a guy they aren’t playing anyway.
The Sixers would probably love Korver and Korkmaz wants to be traded (and perhaps he wants to reconnect with Turkey national basketball teammate Cedi Osman), but the Philadelphia 76ers shouldn’t rush getting rid of Muscala. Switching him for Korver does give them more shooting, but Muscala’s ability to act as a stretch-four or five is invaluable next to Embiid or in small-ball lineups with Simmons.
I never thought I’d say this, but I miss Jerryd Bayless (or at least his contract). If you say no to including Muscala, there doesn’t really seem to be another path to a successful trade. However, there is one other option, but I must warn viewers that they’re about to see a radically hot take.
Kyle Korver, 2019 CLE first-round pick
Markelle Fultz, 2019 PHI first-round pick
Bear with me.
The Cavaliers get a year ahead in their rebuild by giving up their current pick (which, with the flattened lottery odds, doesn’t have a great shot at the top few picks) to get a player that already was the No. 1 overall pick. Pairing him with Sexton will allow them to have a real backcourt of the future and an identity to build around. They also give up Korver for a late first round pick, but that’s exactly what they wanted.
The trade also helps the Philadelphia 76ers in the short- and long-term. Fultz was supposed to be the go-to scorer and third wheel next to Simmons and Embiid, but now Jimmy Butler is that. His skill set is redundant, and he’s not that good at what he’s supposed to be good at yet.
Instead of a player that still doesn’t know his free throw form, the Philadelphia 76ers will get one of the best shooters in the league. Assuming Redick and Korver start together, the bench would still be well-stocked with shooting in Shamet, Chandler, and Muscala. Moving Fultz also allows T.J. McConnell to retake the backup point guard spot that he performed so well in last year.
The move also helps looking down the road, though. Fultz hasn’t panned out so far, and it’d be tough to develop him as the clear fourth option at best. Cleveland’s pick could turn into an even better player, or at least one that fits even better.
Even if the Sixers don’t end up picking R.J. Barrett or Cameron Reddish, they could still package that top pick plus Miami’s 2021 unprotected first to get another high-impact player, such as one of the Wizards’ or Trail Blazers’ guards should they choose to blow it up. Kemba Walker could likely be had for cheaper, given that he’s on an expiring.
I’m not necessarily saying that trading the best move, and it certainly is risky. We could end up trading a future MVP and a first round pick for a 37-year-old backup and a lottery pick that doesn’t end up panning out. But like Daryl Morey says, when you’re close to the end, sometimes you have to up your risk profile.