Sunday, June 26, 2022

Sixers could target the Western Conference’s sixth man

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After it was revealed that the Philadelphia 76ers were pricing the market on several key players, it’s clear that Daryl Morey is ready to go into the NBA draft and free agency. The longtime manager remains committed to his goal of building a championship contender around perennial MVP contender Joel Embiid.

There are several teams that could be good trading partners for the Sixers, but Morey should keep an all-too-familiar face in mind. After their deal with the Dallas Mavericks for Christian Wood, the Houston Rockets don’t appear to be done yet. NBA Insider Marc Stein recently reported They buy in veteran security guard Eric Gordon in exchange for a first-round pick.

Injuries have derailed the past two years for Gordon, but the former sixth man of the year has put together a strong campaign for the Rockets in 2022. He has appeared in his most games since 2018 (57) and averaged 13.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG and 2.7 APG while shooting 41.2% from beyond the arc.

When it became official that the Sixers would have their first-round pick in the upcoming draft, rumors surfaced that Morey was planning to package them along with Danny Green in a trade for someone who can contribute now. After the veteran forward’s cruciate ligament tear in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, it’s unclear when he’ll be able to return to the field.

Gordon is currently in the midst of a four-year, $75.5 million deal that he signed ahead of the 2020-21 season. If the Sixers wanted to acquire him, Furkan Korkmaz would have to be added to Green’s package and the 23rd pick for things to work out financially.

With the Rockets currently undergoing a rebuild, a return of this nature could tempt them. With Green recovering from injury they can cover his salary and not worry about him stealing minutes from the younger players. In addition, his contract expires next season. If they take on Korkmaz, they can also take a fly on a young shooter who has a team-friendly deal.

From a fit standpoint, Gordon makes sense for the Sixers. Not only is he a prolific sixth man who can score from the bench, but he can also be used in the starting XI. His ability to place the ground efficiently makes him an ideal supporting actor around Embiid and James Harden.

Gordon’s 41.2% from three last seasons is already well above the league average and gets even better the more you dig in. When firing the catch, its efficiency increased to 42.8%, making it a more than reliable kick-out option for the All-Star Center.

The main concerns with such a move are Gordon’s contract and injury history. While he played in 57 games last season, he appeared in a total of 63 games in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 campaigns.

Gordon is under contract for the next two seasons and will be paid $19.5 million and $20.9 million, respectively. That’s a steep price to pay for someone who’s likely to come off the bench. Especially for a team with a lot of money at its core. Morey has never been shy about making a trade, but it might be too big a risk for a franchise looking to fulfill its championship aspirations.

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