In his first trade deadline as a General Manager, Elton Brand certainly did not disappoint the Philadelphia 76ers faithful, pulling the trigger on several trades that now make the Sixers look like the favorite in the Eastern Conference. EB addressed finding another star, building depth, and moving on from a polarizing player. Let’s take a look at the new players in the red, white, and blue:
Sixers Acquire A Fourth Star
76ers Receive: Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott
Clippers Receive: Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, 2020 first-round pick, 2021 first-round pick (via Miami), 2021 second-round pick, 2023 second-round pick
In perhaps the biggest move of the 2019 trade deadline, Elton Brand and the 76ers found a fourth star to pair with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Jimmy Butler in Tobias Harris, who was one of the most prominent snubs of this year’s All Star Game. On the season, the 26 year-old is averaging 20.9 PPG (43.4% from 3PT on 4.7 attempts), 7.9 rebounds, and 2.7 assists with the ability to play both forward positions. All season long the 76ers have been lacking a true stretch-four in their starting lineup and got one here in the form of a top 30 player in the NBA. Marjanovic is a 7’3 behemoth that can protect the rim and finish at the rim behind Joel Embiid in limited minutes. Mike “The Threegional Manager” Scott can serve as a small-ball four behind Jonah Bolden on the bench and could spell Boban to infuse more shooting and athleticism in the second unit.
Losing Landry Shamet and the 2021 Miami pick hurts a lot, but acquiring a young star in Harris and shoring up our frontcourt depth certainly makes up for it. The 76ers fully expect to resign Harris in the offseason.
Brand Makes a Deal with Inter-Conference Rivals
76ers Receive: Malachi Richardson, 2022 second round pick, draft rights to Emir Preldzic
Raptors Receive: Cash Considerations
At first, I loved this deal. Richardson is a Trenton, NJ native who played on the Nike EYBL circuit with Philadelphia-based Team Final before playing a season at Syracuse and led them to the Final Four. A 23 year-old wing with tons of untapped potential, I thought this trade was a steal. Unfortunately, the Sixers later waived Richardson.
76ers Find Their First 3-and-D Wing
76ers Receive: James Ennis
Rockets Receive: 2021 second round pick
This is another low-key move that Elton Brand finessed to bolster the 76ers second unit. Gone are the days of watching defensive liabilities like Furkan Korkmaz get the majority of the backup minutes on the wing. Ennis started 25 of 40 games with Houston this season and is knocking down 36.7% of his threes, on par with his career average of 36.1%. He is also a huge upgrade on the defensive side of the ball with the ability to cover both wing positions and small-ball power forwards at 6’7 with length and athleticism.
The Fultz Debacle is Finally Over
76ers Receive: Jonathon Simmons, 2020 first-round pick (via Thunder), future second-round pick (via Cavaliers)
Magic Receive: Markelle Fultz
I will be one of the first to say that it is hard to see Fultz leave Philly. I have been a fan of his since we acquired the first overall pick in 2017 and still have faith that he can be an above-average NBA player. With that said, it was time to move on from this whole debacle. Is he actually injured? Is it really the yips? It doesn’t matter. It’s Orlando’s problem now.
This is more than I think the 76ers ever could have gotten for a guy with so many problems. In Simmons, we get a serviceable perimeter shooter, but has struggled this year with Orlando, who, like James Ennis, can defend multiple positions. Even though Simmons is a great acquisition, the prize of this deal are the two picks attached. The OKC first rounder will likely come in the mid-to-late 20’s, but a Cleveland second rounder will be similar in value to a late first rounder coming in the early 30s, since the Cavs will be stuck in mediocrity for the foreseeable future. Two late first rounders and a 3-and-D wing for a struggling guard? Not a bad deal if you ask me.
76ers Rotation Moving Forward
PG: Ben Simmons
SG: JJ Redick
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: Tobias Harris
C: Joel Embiid
PG: TJ McConnell, Shake Milton*
SG: Jonathon Simmons, Zhaire Smith*
SF: James Ennis, Furkan Korkmaz
PF: Mike Scott
C: Jonah Bolden, Boban Marjanovic, Amir Johnson
The 76ers are much deeper than they were prior to the deadline in all areas. They have a fourth star (Tobias Harris), wings that can shoot and defend (Simmons and Ennis), a small-ball stretch four (Mike Scott), and a backup center that dominates in limited minutes (Boban). TJ McConnell still being the primary backup point guard is not ideal, but with more spacing and defense surrounding him and hopefully less minutes coexisting with Ben Simmons, his liabilities will not be as noticeable. I will still vouch for Shake Milton to steal his minutes once he returns from a broken finger. Another reminder that uber-athletic, first round pick Zhaire Smith has returned to basketball activities and is expected to suit up for the Sixers’ G-League affiliate, the Delware Blue Coats, within the next few weeks, and will hopefully make his NBA debut in time for the playoffs.
All in all, this was a great start to a hopefully long tenure for Elton Brand as the 76ers’ GM. I think there’s a new Eastern Conference favorite.
Photos Courtesy of:
University of South Carolina ’21