Photo by Austin Krell/The Painted Lines

The NBA Finals signifies a battle for glory for the two teams involved. The series also serves as a reference point on the league-year timeline indicating that the offseason action is about to commence for everyone else. With only 2-3 games remaining in the 2021-22 season, gusts of wind are approaching the rumor mill. The wind is hitting Philadelphia, its upcoming first-round draft pick, and Danny Green this time.

“The Sixers are exploring trades involving [the 23rd overall] pick and Danny Green, according to sources,” The Ringer‘s Kevin O’Connor wrote on Monday morning. 

Philadelphia retained its selection in this summer’s draft when Brooklyn elected to defer one of the picks it received in the James Harden trade to 2023. 

Many fans have begun to emotionally attach themselves to certain prospects. But, O’Connor’s reporting isn’t at all surprising. Daryl Morey has a history of sacrificing draft picks in favor of adding players capable of contributing to winning immediately. Doc Rivers is often criticized for his stubbornness in favoring veterans with limited upside over younger players with more energy and undefined limitations.

The Sixers have been evaluating prospects for months. Although, it’s unclear whether that involves them quietly hosting a pre-draft workout process. 

Regardless, O’Connor’s reporting aligns with the prospect that the Sixers might favor using that pick as a trade asset.

The Sixers insist that they are exploring all options — including keeping the 23rd overall selection — to improve their team.

That introduces Danny Green’s aspect of O’Connor’s report.

Danny Green is not guaranteed the $10 million he would be owed this season. Green tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee early in the Sixers’ Game 6 loss to the Heat last month. That injury ostensibly limits the flexibility the Sixers would have with Green. Trading him, with a draft pick, appeared to be one option. Waiving him to avoid the guarantee figured to be the other. Although, PhillyVoice’s Kyle Neubeck floated the possibility that Green could return to the Sixers on a more palatable deal after being waived.

There is certainly a pool of players to be had in that $10 million range. Alternatively, there could be teams with multiple salaries totaling $10 million that intrigue the Sixers. Good luck convincing yourself that a sidelined 34-year-old and a late first-round pick returns multiple assets.

The tricky part is that there are very few teams capable of taking on salary-dump players. That means the Sixers are likely to have two methods of executing a deal. They could explore a multi-team framework with a bigger pool of possible trade targets. Or, they can find one team with a player they like whose salary matches Green’s. 

Separately, some interesting words from another league insider:

I’ve heard a rumble or two in recent months from parties hopeful of luring Bradley Beal away from Washington that Beal is known for saying, in essence, that he wants to be the Dirk Nowitzki of the Wizards in terms of playing only for the franchise that drafted him No. 3 overall in 2012. [Marc Stein]

The 29-year-old Beal profiles as one of the stars the Sixers might pursue this offseason, especially since he’s a free agent. Beal and Embiid are both clients of renowned trainer Drew Hanlen. The Sixers big man apparently favored adding the star guard ahead of February’s trade deadline. Beal had an absolutely dreadful season shooting off the catch. But, his sheer ability to be effective off the ball makes him a better fit next to Embiid than James Harden is.

Ultimately, Beal has to decide what’s more important — winning a title or staying loyal to the Wizards. Both just don’t seem feasible. One moment, Beal will flash an indicator that he would relish a trade if it meant he had a chance of winning a championship. The next moment, he’ll re-affirm his commitment to the Wizards and DC community. At some point, he’s going to have to [bleep] or get off the pot.


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