With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, the San Antonio Spurs should consider looking at Philly as a potential source for a deal.
The February 6th trade deadline is creeping closer and closer, which means it’s decision time for the San Antonio Spurs. Do they do the unthinkable, hit the reset button and abandon any hope of reaching a historic 23rd straight playoff berth? Currently sitting at the 10th spot in the Western Conference, it’s entirely possible that San Antonio deals either LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan or both at the deadline.
However, the Spurs have never called it quits on a season and could look to make a deal to help give them a final push as they keep their sights locked on another playoff appearance.
A potential trade partner that would make sense for the Spurs is the Philadelphia 76ers, a squad that has underperformed mightily this season. Despite the miraculous shot by Kawhi Leonard that knocked the Sixers out of the playoffs last season, there was resounding optimism and excitement emanating from the city of brotherly love.
Leonard’s departure to the Clippers coupled with some of Philly’s offseason acquisitions, notably Al Horford, who they lured away from their Eastern Conference rival Boston Celtics, and Josh Richardson, projected the Sixers as being one of the frontrunners in the East and a legitimate title contender coming into the new season.
Although the Sixers have shown impressive stretches at times, they’ve failed to deliver on a nightly basis and there are still lingering questions regarding Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid’s fit together Sitting at 6th in the East, Philly has made it clear they’re in the market for shooters, so they should be more than willing to field calls as the deadline approaches.
Should the Spurs decide to keep their primary core intact, one player San Antonio should be curious about is Richardson. After spending his first four seasons in Miami, J-Rich was acquired by Philly in the deal that sent Jimmy Butler to South Beach.
Richardson was coming off of a career-best year in Miami and despite being the fourth, sometimes fifth, option in Philly, he has continued to produce solid numbers. This season, Richardson is averaging 15 PPG, 3.4 APG, 3.3 RPG while shooting 33.3 percent from three-point range through 38 games with the Sixers.
The injection of Richardson on this Spurs roster would be huge. Only 26 years old, J-Rich is an energetic player that can fill up the stat sheet on any given night and doesn’t need the ball to be effective.
Further, Richardson’s versatility will help him immediately carve out a role in the starting roster. Although he’s spent nearly all of his minutes at the shooting guard position this season, throughout his career Richardson has shown his ability to shift anywhere from the point guard to a small forward role.
Defensively, Richardson is a massive improvement from Forbes, whose defensive struggles have been well-documented since he came into the league. The prospect of a three-headed monster, including Dejounte Murray, Derrick White and Richardson should get Spurs fans excited about the future.
Because of Richardson’s impressive ascension and ability to make an impact on a loaded roster, his services won’t come cheap. The primary core of an initial deal would feature Bryn Forbes, DeMarre Carroll and San Antonio’s 2nd round pick this year to bring J-Rich to the Alamo City.
Philly could stand to beef up their backup point guard position since they’re currently cycling between Trey Burke and Raul Neto. Forbes would be an immediate upgrade as a secondary floor general and his three-point proficiency (39.3 percent through his career) would be just what the Sixers need.
Further, Forbes has demonstrated the ability to operate seamlessly with San Antonio’s guards, ranging from Murray, White and DeRozan while finding ways to be effective without needing to be ball-dominant.
DeMarre Carroll’s short time in San Antonio has been an enigma. The veteran signed a 3-year deal in the offseason, but has inexplicably appeared in just 15 games and has just averaged 9 minutes per game this season. But, according to Jabari Young, Carroll’s time could be coming to an end as quickly as it began with the Spurs searching for a new home for the vet.
Although his time with the Spurs wasn’t what most expected, Carroll’s fit with Philly would make sense. The Sixers would be getting a gritty utility player who can contribute a little bit of everything. Last season in Brooklyn, Carroll averaged 11.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG and was hitting 34.2 percent of his three-point attempts.
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Between the proposed additions of Forbes and Carroll, Philadelphia would be bolstering both their guard and wing depth. Further, the Sixers would be recouping some of that shooting they so desperately need. Forbes is currently knocking down 2.2 threes per game, which would rank 1st on the Sixers roster, and Carroll connected on 1.6 triples per contest last season with the Nets, which would have him tied for 3rd on the Sixers behind Furkan Korkmaz and Tobias Harris.
There should be motivation by both sides to make a deal like this work. For the Spurs, although parting ways with draft assets isn’t typical from the team, they’ll be able to flip Forbes, who is likely to command a decent contract in the offseason, and Carroll, who has barely sniffed the court all season, for a young two-way player on an affordable deal.
From Philly’s perspective, they need to make a move to shake up the roster and hopefully spark a shift in their offensive mentality over the second half of the season.
Reliable shooters on decent contracts/expiring deals offer a low-cost way for the Sixers to make minor improvements to a team that has enough talent to win an NBA championship.