One of the most amazing things about the NBA is NBA Twitter. One second everyone talking about how bad the Lakers are and how everyone has turned their back on LeBron, next second a finals contender has traded multiple assets to acquire another All-Star level player. Around 7:00 pm AEST the Philadelphia 76ers traded Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala and Landry Shamet, as well as two first-round draft picks and two second-round draft picks for Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott. Quite a lot for Harris who is at the end of his contract and will need to be resigned for next season. This move makes it clear that the 76ers are ready to win now and helps them in that endeavour. For the Clippers, they traded away a player who was not guaranteed to resign, obtained a reliable role player in Wilson Chandler and a promising young guard in Shamet. So, who won the trade? Let’s take a look at what it means for both teams:
Los Angeles Clippers
For the Clippers, this is a smart move. Harris, who is averaging 20.9/7.9/2.7 on 49% shooting has been great this season, has been great for the Clippers this season. At the end of this season, however, Harris was looking to sign a Max-Contract, and the Clippers were not going to give him that kind of money because they are hoping to land at least one the superstars in free-agency next off-season. So, it was either trade Harris or lose him for nothing at the end of the season, which is never a smart idea unless you’re in Championship contention. With Harris, the Clippers were going to be lucky to sneak into the playoffs and to be middle of the road is not what any team wants. Harris no longer fit into the Clippers timeline, which Clippers President of basketball operations, Lawrence Frank, indirectly stated in his reasoning for the trade:
“In addition to Wilson, Mike and Landry, we obtained multiple draft assets today that will be important building blocks as we continue to carry out our long-term plan — to construct a sustainable championship contender”.
The Clippers gained a “veteran player we have long respected for his toughness, versatility and leadership” in Wilson Chandler, a young hard working Shooter in Landry Shamet and four draft picks, a significant haul for a team that is rebuilding.
I can’t remember being this excited from a player move in a while. Maybe DeMarcus Cousins to the Warriors, but that was more dread than excitement. With this trade, despite losing some significant pieces in Chandler and Shamet, the 76ers have what I would say is the strongest starting five in the East. Simmons, Redick, Butler, Harris, Embiid. It’s close, certainly but let’s look at their competition. Celtics: Irving, Smart, Tatum, Morris, Horford, it is close, but I’m going with the 76ers five. Of course, the Celtics are much deeper, but that’s not the point. Raptors: Lowry, Green, Leonard, Siakam, Ibaka. Once again, it’s the Sixers. I’m not going to bother with the Bucks because their starting five isn’t as good as any of these teams, we all know it’s Giannis or bust, which isn’t to say that they couldn’t beat these teams.
The point is that although they have lost some depth with the losses of Shamet and Chandler, in particular, they got Power Forward who can defend the 3 and 4, shoot three’s at at an exceptional 43% and can make plays for himself off the dribble. Before this trade, the only player spacing the floor was Redick and Butler, the latter of which is not the best shooter. This meant that the lane was swamped for Simmons, Embiid, and Butler. With the Addition of Harris, the lane will be clearer for Simmons and Embiid, adding another layer to their already dangerous attack. Sixers GM summarised why this move was so good for his team:
“We are in the unique position to contend now and we think this trade positions us well for the postseason. Tobias is one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA and possesses an innate ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor, while Boban and Mike provide valuable skillsets, size and depth to our team.”
With this move, the 76ers have undoubtedly made their team better. More shooting, a legitimate backup Center and a solid bench player in Mike Scott. In the Playoffs, it’s the team’s starting five that is the most important and though their lack of bench may hurt them, the good by far outweighs the bad.
While it may seem like a cop-out, this deal is one of the rare trades where there are no losers, only winners. Both the Clippers and Sixers have vastly different aims, with the Clippers looking to build into a championship contender and Philadelphia looking to win now. This trade helped both teams on their way to achieving their respective goals, and both sides have come away pleased with the additions to their teams.