In a three-team trade on July 19th, the Philadelphia 76ers acquired 27 year-old big man Mike Muscala from the Atlanta Hawks while giving up two wings in Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Justin Anderson. The official deal is as follows:
Atlanta Hawks receive Carmelo Anthony, Justin Anderson, and a lottery-protected 2022 first round pick from the Thunder
OKC receives Dennis Schroder and TLC
Sixers receive Mike Muscala
In the deal, the Thunder are expected to save $62 million on their luxury tax bill and cut their payroll by $11 million with the Hawks picking up Melo’s entire contract, while adding a starting-caliber point guard in Schroder who can either line up alongside Russell Westbrook or provide quality rest for the All Star. In Luwawu-Cabarrot, Billy Donovan and his staff have a young wing capable of developing into a 3-and-D threat.
Atlanta is expected to buy out Anthony’s contract once the trade is cleared by NBA office officials and will hit the open market. The 34 year-old met with the Rockets and Heat in Las Vegas with Houston currently being the frontrunner, per Woj. With Justin Anderson, the Hawks get a 24 year-old ferocious defender who can knock down an occasional three. He can prove to be a capable backup to current starter Taurean Prince who just enjoyed a breakout season in his second go-round with the organization. With the trade of Schroder, the Hawks now have the ability to give starter minutes to rookie point guard Trae Young, last season’s NCAA leader in points and assists. This can prove valuable for the team’s young core of Young, Prince, and big man John Collins.
Now, a question for us Philly fans: What exactly did we get in Mike Muscala?
The big man does not offer much in upside as he is already 27, but can provide needed spacing in the second unit. With Nemanja Bjelica going back to Europe after verbally committing to the Sixers, Muscala fills a need for the team. He is a career 37.8% shooter from behind the arc and in 20 minutes per game last season, the Bucknell product put up 7.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1 assist. At 6’11, Muscala has the ability to play the five behind Joel Embiid if coach Brett Brown strays away from offensive liability Amir Johnson and wants to inject more shooting into his bench unit. Perhaps the most important aspect of this trade: the Sixers are able to trim down their roster in order to meet the maximum of 15 players.
At the time of this trade, the deal seems fairly balanced: OKC gets a speedy point guard and unloads Melo’s horrid contract, Atlanta is able to give rookie Trae Young starting minutes that can prove essential to his development, and Philly gets a replacement for Nemanja Bjelica while trimming down their overflowing roster.
University of South Carolina ’21