After an extremely underwhelming 2019-20 campaign, the Philadelphia 76ers didn't sit still. Shortly after the season ended they fired coach Brett Brown and replaced him with Doc Rivers. A few weeks later, they added Daryl Morey as the new president of basketball operations after he parted ways with the Rockets. Now, with Morey calling the shots, the Sixers likely won't stand pat when it comes to the roster, either. Here's a look at five big-name potential trade targets for Philadelphia.
When it comes to big names in the NBA, they don't get much bigger than James Harden. Harden is an eight-time All-Star and former MVP, and he's still just 31 years old. The Sixers are reportedly interested in trading for Harden, even though there's been no indication that Houston would be willing to part with the face of their franchise. Philadelphia's interest isn't especially surprising given the history between Harden and Morey, but it is intriguing since Morey made it clear at his introductory press conference with the Sixers that he doesn't necessarily plan to replicate Houston's small-ball style in Philadelphia.
"We were trying to build the best team around our talents in Houston," Morey said of potentially bringing the small-ball style to Philly. "But here, Doc [Rivers] is gonna take the talent we have and use them to the best of their ability... The goal isn't to shoot 3-pointers. The goal is to win. You can score on offense in a whole bunch of different ways.
"I think the best way to win in the NBA is to take your talent and figure out how to utilize them the best," Morey added. "It's not to take your talent and hammer it into a particular system. It's to try to get the most out of who you have."
A potential pursuit of Harden on Philadelphia's part is also interesting because, in order to acquire a player of Harden's caliber, the Sixers would likely have to part with one of their two young All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. While Morey will certainly evaluate all options, both he and Doc Rivers have made it abundantly clear that they believe that the duo of Embiid and Simmons can win at the highest level.
"My goal is to win a championship so whatever gets us there is what we'll do," Morey said. "I would say to have two star-plus players at 24 and 26 years old, that is why I couldn't get Doc Rivers to come interview in Houston because he saw this roster and he said it's amazing. Obviously, I end up here a couple of weeks later, it's pretty cool."
While anything is possible, a trade involving Philadelphia's other three starters from last season -- Tobias Harris, Al Horford, and Josh Richardson -- is much more likely than a move involving either Embiid or Simmons at this point in time. Philadelphia would be remiss to trade either young All-Star without giving Rivers at least a single season to see what he could get out of the duo.
Philadelphia's front office has reportedly "seriously debated" the idea of pursuing Paul. From a basketball standpoint, Paul would make a lot of sense in Philadelphia, as he could serve as the perimeter playmaker and offensive initiator that the team desperately needed while it was being swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics last season. Unlike Al Horford, who the Sixers signed to a massive four-year deal last offseason, Paul's skill set actually meshes with that of Philadelphia's two best players in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and he could potentially be the piece needed to push the Sixers to the next level.
Acquiring Paul will be easier said than done though for Philadelphia. The Sixers have virtually no financial flexibility and thus they would have to move at least one of their key cogs -- and likely a couple of draft picks -- to make a deal work. General manager Elton Brand has said that the team isn't looking to trade Embiid or Simmons, and Morey and Rivers have echoed this message. This leaves just Horford, Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson for the Thunder to pick from in a return package. Horford, Richardson and picks would work financially, but would a Thunder team looking to rebuild really want to take on three years of a 34-year-old Horford?
Thanks to some seriously clutch performances during the postseason, Paul proved to any doubters that he can still play the game at the highest level. And while his advancing age and potential injury issues are a concern for any team interested in acquiring him, Paul certainly looks like he still has two good years left in him, which is the remaining length of his current contract. For a team with an open title window looking to win now -- like the 76ers -- pursuing Paul could potentially be a worthwhile move.
As a perimeter player capable of playing both on and off of the ball, and knocking down big shots, Oladipo would fit in Philly alongside Embiid and Simmons. There have been rumblings that Oladipo wants out of Indiana, but the All-Star guard recently denied those rumors. But even if Oladipo doesn't necessarily want to be traded out of Indiana, that doesn't mean that the Pacers won't still look to move him. Oladipo is set for unrestricted free agency in 2021. If the two sides don't agree on an extension, and the Pacers don't feel like he's going to re-sign in free agency, they might want to trade him for a return before losing him for nothing in free agency. At that point, the Sixers could look to move in.
Trading for Oladipo without a guarantee that he would re-sign the following offseason would be risky for the Sixers, but it could also provide them with an opportunity to get out from underneath one of the bad contracts they signed last offseason. A deal of Horford plus picks would work in exchange for Oladipo and Doug McDermott, but the question again becomes if the Pacers would want to do that. If Oladipo is ultimately made available, the Pacers will send him to whichever team can put together the most enticing offer, and without including Embiid or Simmons, there's no guarantee that Philadelphia would be able to do that.
The Pelicans are reportedly openly discussing Holiday in trade talks, and unsurprisingly several contending teams are interested. As an elite perimeter defender capable of playing both on and off the ball on the offensive end, Holiday's skill set is an ideal fit for today's game. As such, projected contenders like the Lakers, Bucks, Clippers, and the Sixers could all use a player of his ilk.
While Holiday has been very valuable to the Pelicans, he would be even more so on a team set up to win immediately. The young Pelicans, who will likely try to build their team around second-year star Zion Williamson, appear to be a couple of years away from true contention. By trading Holiday, 30, New Orleans would likely look to add younger pieces that align better with its team timeline. Holiday, who averaged 19.1 points, 6.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game last season, still has a lot of good basketball left in him, and he could ultimately prove to be a big boon to a contending team that is able to land him.
Financially, a trade involving either Horford or Tobias Harris for Holiday would work. To get a deal done though, the Sixers would have to sweeten the pot substantially with a combination of young players (like Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, and Zhaire Smith) and draft picks. Even then, there's no guarantee that the Pelicans would be interested, but it's certainly worth inquiring about for Philadelphia.
Hield has had a tumultuous tenure in Sacramento, and his name seems to consistently pop up in trade rumors. As a career 41 percent shooter from long distance, Hield would certainly fit in Philly alongside Embiid and Simmons, so it makes sense that the Sixers have been mentioned as a possible destination for Hield should he be made available. As it stands, Hield is 'not yet' being shopped by Sacramento's front office, but that could change quickly, especially if they are presented with an offer they are enticed by.
The Kings were interested in Al Horford in free agency last offseason before he signed with the Sixers. Perhaps that interest remains, and the two sides could get a deal done centered around Hield and Horford, with other players involved to make the numbers work. If social media clues are any indication, Hield wouldn't mind a trade to Philadelphia, as he recently reacted positively toward a post indicating that the Sixers might be interested in him.