As a team near the top of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, largely happy with its current rotation and short on moveable assets, the Philadelphia 76ers aren’t expected to be major players at the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline this season. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t look to upgrade the roster around the edges. Specifically, the Sixers would probably benefit from some added depth at the center spot and on the perimeter.
With that in mind, here’s a look at five potential trade targets for Philadelphia ahead of next week’s deadline.
Philadelphia’s most glaring need heading into the trade deadline is the backup center spot. Montrezl Harrell and Paul Reed have both shown some flashes of solid play, but neither has definitively secured the role of backup big behind Joel Embiid. It’s been shown over the years how important that spot is, as Embiid obviously can’t play the full 48 minutes, and it’s important that the Sixers don’t completely collapse when he’s on the sideline. Head coach Doc Rivers has experimented with going small at times and using PJ Tucker as a small-ball five, but the Sixers will need size for potential playoff matchups against the likes of the Bucks, Celtics or Cavs, and neither Harrell or Reed have that size.
One guy who has that size, though, and is already familiar with the Sixers as an organization, is Andre Drummond. Drummond was traded from Philadelphia to Brooklyn last February in the deal that brought James Harden to the Sixers. Drummond then signed with the Bulls over the offseason, but he hasn’t been a consistent contributor in Chicago, and as a result the Bulls could be willing to part with him.
Drummond was the best backup big that the Sixers have had in the Embiid era, and his addition would work to fortify the frontcourt and solidify the bench lineup. Plus, it seems safe to say that Drummond would welcome a trade back to Philly, as he recently stated that he misses playing for the organization, and in front of the fans.
“I think just how much of a family this organization is. They welcomed me, they made me feel very comfortable when I got here,” Drummond said of the Sixers last month. “As a team, we just had a lot of fun as a team. We really cared about each other. We had one common goal which is to win as many games as possible and be great. I’m sad that we had to break things up in February. I definitely miss playing here. I had a lot of fun playing for Doc, somebody who I’ve known since a boy and have so much respect for him so to have the chance to play for him was awesome for me. The city of Philadelphia, man, the fan base is one of a kind. I loved it here.”
Potential trade: 76ers receive Andre Drummond. Bulls receive Danuel House Jr., 2023 second-round pick (via ATL/CHA/BRK).
2. Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls
If Philadelphia can’t land one former Sixer-turned-Bull, perhaps they’ll be able to land another. Like Drummond, Bulls reserve center Tony Bradley is familiar with the franchise and has experience serving as Embiid’s backup — a role he held briefly during the 2020-21 season. Bradley played so well during his stint with the Sixers that he prompted Embiid to jokingly tweet that the Sixers should build around Bradley.
Bradley isn’t a flashy player, but he has solid size for a center and thus could offer some rebounding and rim protection in spurts. Bradley has played sparingly for the Bulls this season, as he has appeared in just 10 games for a total of 26 minutes. As a result, he could be available at a not-too-steep asking price.
Potential trade: 76ers receive Tony Bradley. Bulls receive Jaden Springer.
Terrence Ross is a guy that has seemingly been mentioned as a potential target for the Sixers for years, and understandably so. As a career 36 percent shooter from long range, Ross would provide some solid — and additional — floor-spacing around Joel Embiid and James Harden. His ability to keep the defense honest makes him an attractive target for contending teams with ball-dominant stars, even as he has fallen out of Orlando’s rotation recently.
Given the fact that he hasn’t been getting much run in Orlando as of late, Ross is probably available in trade talks at a reasonable rate. He’s not necessarily the type of addition who will singlehandedly boost a team’s title odds, but a team can never have too much shooting in today’s NBA, especially a team like the Sixers who need ample floor-spacing around its dynamic duo.
Potential trade: 76ers receive Terrence Ross. Magic receive Furkan Korkmaz, Jaden Springer, Danuel House Jr., 2023 second-round pick (via ATL/CHA/BRK).
Reid has been having a very solid season in Minnesota, and as a result, the Timberwolves could look to hold on to him beyond the deadline. However, he will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and if the Wolves are averse to inking him to a new contract since they already have a substantial amount of money committed to two centers in Rudy Gobert and Karl Anthony-Towns, they could look to deal him.
If it comes to that, Reid will have no shortage of suitors, and the Sixers likely won’t beat many teams in a bidding war due to their limited assets — don’t forget, the Sixers were docked two second-round picks (2023, 2024) for violating the NBA’s tampering rules over the offseason. As a result, this one feels less than likely, but you cant never count Daryl Morey out of a deal.
Potential trade: 76ers receive Naz Reid. Timberwolves receive Jaden Springer, 2023 second-round pick (via ATL/CHA/BRK).
Another former Sixer makes the list here. Burks is a proven scorer off of the bench and thus he could be a popular deadline target for playoff teams. He has the ability to both play off of the ball and also to create for himself. He’s a career 38 percent shooter from long range, which means he provides the floor-spacing the Sixers would want. He would provide Philadelphia with an added scoring threat with the second unit, and would be a bit of a upgrade over a guy like Shake Milton.
Burks has a team option on his contract for next season, so the Sixers wouldn’t necessarily be making a long-term commitment by trading for him at the deadline. This is another situation where the Sixers could potentially be outbid due to their lack of attractive assets, but it’s certainly worth a call for Philadelphia’s front office.
Potential trade: 76ers receive Alec Burks, Rodney McGruder. Pistons receive Furkan Korkmaz, Danuel House Jr., Jaden Springer, 2023 second-round pick (via ATL/CHA/BRK).