The Philadelphia 76ers currently sit in third place in the Eastern Conference, just three games back of the Boston Celtics in first.
They’re one of the hottest teams in the NBA since the turn of the year and at 34-18, the Sixers sit in a position that is all too comfortable in recent season.
Philly has finished in the top three in the Eastern Conference four of the last five seasons. Each time, however, the Sixers have gone out in the second round of the NBA playoffs, with the exception coming after a first-round exit in 2020 without Joel Embiid.
This time, however, the Sixers may well have the most firepower they’ve had yet. In addition to Embiid playing at an MVP level, superstar point guard James Harden looks back to his best and third-year shooting guard Tyrese Maxey is an emerging star.
Additionally, role players like Tobias Harris, DeAnthony Melton and PJ Tucker have stepped up their games.
Philadelphia 76ers Likely Looking To Shed Salary At NBA Trade Deadline
With the NBA Trade Deadline fast approaching, Sixers fans are hoping general manager Daryl Morey will sure up the team at some key spots. Philly could stand to replace Montrezl Harrell at the backup center. The 76ers could also use another wing player that is actually playable come playoff time.
But it sounds like that’s unlikely to happen. If anything, Philly could be sellers at the deadline according to John Hollinger of The Athletic.
If there is one team to absolutely, positively bet on making a trade to ditch salary, it’s Philadelphia. The Sixers are a mere $1.17 million over the tax line; despite having a good team that is in contention, they also have some very tradeable players at the end of the bench not doing much. Furkan Korkmaz, Danuel House and Jaden Springer hardly play and make $12 million between them; they’re each signed for next year, which makes things more complicated, but Philly might be able to part with its 2023 Knicks second-rounder to offload one of them and get below the tax.
Alternatively, the Sixers could also look at moving on from Matisse Thybulle ($4.4 million) before he hits restricted free agency this summer. Philly is already into next year’s tax thanks to Joel Embiid’s extension kicking in and may need a bigger bag for James Harden if he opts out of his $35.6 million as expected. Paying Thybulle in that environment seems unlikely, but he could probably return two second-round picks, a small trade exception and a sidestepped tax bill this week.
You don’t normally hear about contending teams attaching draft picks to shed salary. At least not unless they’re planning another move. But it sounds like team owner Josh Harris has his heart set on avoiding the luxury tax.
If that’s the case, Sixers fans may want to turn down the excitement level.