The Philadelphia 76ers are in town Friday to take on the celtics.They hold a 9-24 record and once again will likely hold one of the top picks in the 2017 NBA Draft. It’s not hard to figure out why they haven’t won 20 games for four years. It’s just a lack of depth on the roster.
The Sixers have stockpiled high draft picks in recent years and have loaded up on potential stars like Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. While there’s real talent there, Noel, Okafor, and Embiid are all big men. Coach Brett Brown has had difficulty finding time for all of the big men. This problem has caught the eye of many Celtics fans, who have speculated about a potential Philly-Boston trade for months.
In the weeks leading up to the 2016 draft, the Sixers and Celtics had reportedly discussed potential deals. The reports mentioned that both Okafor and Noel could potentially go to the Celtics for a package involving the third overall pick. Obviously, that deal never happened. Let’s take those rumors with a grain of salt, but they’re still intriguing. There is an obvious logjam at the four and five in Philly, and Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com believes the Sixers know a trade is necessary.
The article from Cooper also gives a quote by Noel following his return from injury in December. I need to be on the court playing basketball. I think I’m too good to be playing eight minutes. That’s crazy. That’s crazy. He’s averaged 11. 5 minutes per game since his return, which certainly makes him seem like the odd man out.
Celtics fans make great speculators. It makes perfect sense for the Celtics to target Noel. He is a shot-changer on defense and a post scorer on offense, and the natural five that isn’t always easy to find. It comes down to the asking price, and how much the Sixers value him. But if he’s not getting time, what are they waiting for?
What is he worth?
It’s time for this move to happen. Noel can put the Celtics one step closer to a championship, and at 22, he still has plenty of time to improve. Not to mention he’s a native of Boston. This could give the Celtics a hometown discount when he becomes a free agent next July.
The Celtics have plenty of assets. They have the right to swap picks with Brooklyn in 2017, which will be a top five pick. In 2018, they hold Brooklyn’s first round pick, which will likely be a top five pick again, and they hold a future Memphis pick. Who knows what that will be worth at that point? As far as the Brooklyn picks, no way. There are only a handful of guys that the Brooklyn picks should be traded for. My thought is that the Sixers are persistent on getting a Brooklyn pick, and that Danny just isn’t willing to give one up.
Besides the picks, the Celtics have three point guards that could interest the Sixers. A package involving either Smart or Rozier could give Philly their point guard of the future. One of those two could be packaged with the expiring contract of James Young or Gerald Green. If Philly wants draft pick compensation as well, they can ask for whatever they want as long as it doesn’t involve the Nets picks.
There are plenty of combinations you can can cook up on the NBA trade machine that would work. Noel is a guy that would fit well into Stevens’ offense. Noel and Horford together would be a top five front court. Noel may not be the superstar you’re looking for, but trading for him makes a lot of sense.