It’s that time of the year again – when we all refresh http://espn.go.com/nba/ an embarrassingly large number of times over the course of the day, while clicking on any and all links that have the word “trade” in the headline. (Or … hit up Twitter.) I’m here not to suggest any specific trades that the Sixers have to do, should do, or could do, but rather to consider what different hypothetical trades would say about czar Collins’ the front office’s thoughts on the team moving forward.
Trade Type 1: Trading some flotsam for a legitimate backup point guard
The most important outcome of this trade would be the front office’s admission that Evan Turner and Jeremy Pargo aren’t suitable backup point guards. If the organization wants to take a run at the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, this is the type of low-cost move you can expect.
Trade Type 2: Adding a backup big man
Like the aforementioned backup point guard upgrade, the big man here wouldn’t play much more than 10 minutes a game. A quick look over the team’s depth chart shows Lavoy Allen and Spencer Hawes as the only currently healthy big men who’ve logged heavy minutes, but Arnett Moultrie has played well in limited minutes thus far, and Thaddeus Young should return soon, if not by this weekend.
Picking up another big man would be a sign that the team either has little faith in Moultrie down the stretch, or that Andrew Bynum won’t be suiting up for a while. Either way, adding another rotation level forward/center would seem to indicate the team has an eye on the postseason.
Trade Type 3: Trading away one of the backup wings.
Trading away one of the several “eighth men” (they’re missing a “sixth man” and “seventh man”) wouldn’t drastically impact on-court production, but it would almost be waving the white flag. Picking up a piece or two for the future, or even just a trade exception, would show the team is looking to the future instead of hoping to grab the 8th spot and have the opposing team’s best player go down in the most devastating way possible catch lightning in a bottle.
Trade Type 4: The Sixers move a key rotation player
Namely Evan Turner or Thaddeus Young – really, the only two non-All-Stars who would get minutes on any other team right now. They’re thought of in totally different lights – ET as the underachieving second overall pick, and Thad as the gritty, lovable, do-it-all late lottery pick – but they could both be moved for some combination of picks and players. This would allow the team to tinker with its identity without tearing the whole thing down. It’d be an admission that they can’t compete as currently constructed, with or without Bynum.
Trade Type 5: The nuclear option
Trading Andrew Bynum. They’d do this if the big man won’t re-sign or the team decides he’s not worth signing long-term. A tough pill for the Sixers to swallow, but at least they’ll always have Paris – and his hair.