Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Sixers linked to former NBA champion, $39m star as potential trade target

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On the Jan. 14 episode of “Postin’ Up With Keith Smith & Adam Taylor,” Smith addressed what he thinks the Philadelphia 76ers will do by the close. Smith doesn’t think the Sixers will catch a big fish at the close like they did with James Harden last year, but he does think Basketball Operations president Daryl Morey may have a few tricks up his sleeve, including the opportunity to acquire a former NBA champion.

“It’s Daryl Morey. I don’t think they have another big deal with them. I just don’t understand where this is supposed to come from. But he’s going to be doing things on the fringes of his roster, and he’s got some moving parts there that you’ll see he’s going to do something to fill that team a little bit more,” Smith said. “And that’s where a guy like Kyle Kuzma, who makes $13 million, could come in for them. Because it’s a very cheap contract, you don’t have to do much to reach the salary.”

Kuzma, who won a title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020, is in the final year of a three-year, $39 million contract. Kuzma, in his sixth NBA season with the Washington Wizards, has a number of career bests, including points per game (21.7), assists per game (3.9) and field goal percentage (46.3 percent).

The Sixers already have depth on the wing in Tobias Harris, De’Anthony Melton, PJ Tucker and Georges Niang, but Kuzma would only add to that if taken over.

Marc Stein reported on his Substack on Jan. 15 that the Wizards have not made Kuzma available in trade talks and that they hope to overtake him this season.

“The Wizards continue to push the idea that they will move Kyle Kuzma before the deadline and have repeatedly insisted behind the scenes that they are willing to pay Kuzma what it takes to stay after he is in the becomes an unrestricted free agent during the off-season. ‘ Stone said.

Stein added that many in the NBA believe Kuzma will leave the Wizards, but such rumors could be spread by teams that will be stalking him in the upcoming offseason.

“Across different corners of the NBA map, there’s a belief that Kuzma would prefer to move in the offseason, but maybe that’s wishful thinking from teams that covet him.”

The Wizards are currently 18-26 and are two games behind the Chicago Bulls for 10th overall in the Eastern Conference.

Stein reported on his Substack Jan. 14 that the Sixers plan to trade one of their players to save money.

“There is a rising expectation that Philadelphia will attempt to move either Jaden Springer or Furkan Korkmaz before the Feb. 9 trade deadline in hopes of losing luxury taxpayer dollars,” Stein said.

Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer reported something similar while also explaining why the Sixers could go down this route.

“There’s also a financial aspect that could underscore the Sixers’ efforts to trade deadlines if the right upgrades don’t materialize,” Fischer said. “This season currently marks Philadelphia’s third straight year as a taxpayer, which would require the Sixers to pay repeat tax rates for every dollar over the 2023-24 tax threshold. The Sixers are currently hovering just above this year’s tax line, which could bring players like Furkan Korkmaz, Matisse Thybulle and Jaden Springer into the trade talk.”

Alternatively, the Sixers could include Korkmaz, Thybulle and Springer, among others, in a possible deal for Kuzma, but all signs point to Kuzma not being in the market.

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