With trade rumors swirling around Kevin Durant, the Sixers could be in position to add another star, but at what cost?
KD to Philly is a Possibility
Here is what we know so far about the Kevin Durant situation. First, we know that Durant has officially requested a trade. While he could be interested in Philly, it is not his top choice. The Sixers, of course, have interest in Durant as well. We all know GM Daryl Morey loves stars, and who wouldn’t want to add KD?
What Would it Take?
One thing that helps is that Durant does not have a no trade clause. However, any team that makes the trade will still have to makes sure that he is on board first. Therefore, the trade would mostly come down to who can offer Brooklyn the most enticing package. While this levels the playing field for the Sixers versus Durant’s slightly more preferred teams, it also means that they will have to cough up a king’s ransom.
Any trade for Durant will likely cost at least three quality players and several draft picks. Just to offset salary, any trade will have to involve Tobias Harris, but it will take much more than that. The Sixers do have some other solid, but expendable assets that they could throw in such as Matisse Thybulle and Shake Milton. These three, plus a handful of picks could add up to sufficient value on paper. The trade machine likes it, saying that it would actually favor the Nets. However, there are several hurdles here. First this would require sign-and-trades for both Thybulle and Milton. Secondly and most importantly, that type of return for one of the all-time would be a tough pill for Brooklyn to swallow. As this trade would more or less signal a rebuild, the Nets would likely insist on getting a young star that they can build around. The Sixers have one player that fits the bill: Tyrese Maxey.
Trading Maxey Would be a Mistake
I get that the idea of adding KD is enticing. Of course it is. This is Kevin freaking Durant we’re talking about here. Nevertheless, we have to remember that he is 34 now. While he is still playing at an elite level, his best years are pretty much behind him.
At just 21 years old, Maxey is 13 YEARS(?!) younger than him. He will not reach the age that Durant is now until 2035. He has his entire career ahead of him. After what we saw this season, that future looks extremely bright.
Maxey looks poised to become at least a top 20 player in the NBA as soon as this year, and his ceiling has never looked higher. While Durant is probably still a top five player right now, he’s isn’t going to get any better. In three to five years from now, Maxey could very well be the better player. Again, in five years Maxey will only be 26 while Durant will be 39.
The main argument for giving up everything, including Maxey, to get KD is that Philly’s championship window is right now. Joel Embiid’s body is not likely to hold up for a very long time. Still, Maxey could give the organization something to build around for the next 10 to 15 years. And the Sixers are pretty good with him right now. Say they do give up everything to get Durant. Now they have a chance to win a title or two in the next three years, if, and this a big if, both Embiid and Durant can stay healthy. That is a hefty gamble to bet your entire future on.
The 2021 NBA season is here, so it’s time to get in on some NBA win totals action!
Every year, Bill Simmons does a two part NBA win total podcast going over every team and picking a side. It is always one of my favorite listens before the season starts; it helps get to gage where each team is at based on the consensus of basketball junkies I trust. This year I decided to hold off listening to the podcast so I could pick a few of my own. Win totals are always a fun bet that gives you more of a rooting interest in different teams. Without further ado, here are my five favorite NBA win totals for 2021.
Golden State Warriors Over 47.5 Wins
This is the first total that stuck out to me, each time I look, I keep coming back. The once dominant Warriors have come back to reality with a plethora of catastrophic injuries over the past couple seasons, but there is optimism in the bay once again. Klay Thompson is on track to play for the first time in over 2 years, clips of him practicing have looked encouraging. Stephen Curry is coming off an MVP caliber season, and the Warriors got better over the season.
The Warriors have much more talent this time around with Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, the return of Andre Igoudala and a another year of last years 2nd overall pick James Wiseman. Combined with two high draft picks and Otto Porter who has flashed signs of being a valuable role player in the past.
All of this depth plus a player who I expect to make a leap this season, Jordan Poole. Poole has really come into his own and he has shown flashes of being a true number 3 option on this team. Expect Poole to be a major part of the Warriors offence this season. The Warriors are ready to re-enter the title conversation, and should smash this win total.
Charlotte Hornets Under 38.5 Wins
The Hornets were one of the league’s most surprising teams last season, they beat their win total of 26.5 by 6 games. Come 2021 LaMelo Ball and co. have higher expectations. While I believe this team is on the right track, I think a lot broke right for Charlotte last season, from a weaker eastern conference to lucky breaks. The east has definitely improved this season, with the top 6 likely a combination of the Bucks, Celtics Hawks, Heat, Nets and 76ers. The Bulls, Knicks and Pacers all improved this season and added key contributors through personnel or coaching.
That is 9 teams currently set up to be better than Charlotte, not including a pesky Raptors squad and a always in the mix Wizards. The Hornets are young, but it feels like they are missing established vets who help right the ship during a tough stretch. I expect some growing pains from the young Hornets, this feels like a learning season to get LaMelo to the next level.
Philadelphia 76ers Over 50.5 Wins
One of the biggest question marks in the NBA right now is Ben Simmons. After talk all offseason that Simmons would not play for the Sixers again, Ben has finally reported and it sounds like he is on track to play for the team this season. A shocking development that no one expected, makes it hard to get a read on this team. The Sixers were the #1 seed in the east last season, winning 49 games in a shortened season. I believe this Sixers team is capable of winning 50 games with or without Ben Simmons.
The Sixers have one of the league’s best in Joel Embiid and a fantastic supporting cast for him. Tobias Harris and Seth Curry are perfect complimentary pieces to Embiid’s game. Tyrese Maxey is a player i expect to make a leap this season, he showed flashes in 2020 and the Sixers would be wise to push him into the starting lineup sooner than later. Embiid and Simmons have both shown they play better in a system without each other.
The best case scenario is trading Simmons for a package that includes shooters, or a floor general to work with Embiid. If they could pry Tyrese Haliburton or in a crazy situation, De’Aaron Fox from the Kings, that would upgrade the lineup immensely. The Sixers are in a good position regardless of Simmons status, I expect another strong regular season from the team.
Sacramento Kings Under 36.5 Wins
Speaking of the Kings, I am expecting their under to hit as well. The Kings roster construction confuses me, two years in a row they drafted best player available. A draft strategy I usually love, but the team already had a young stud point guard in De’Aaron Fox. Now they have 3 ball dominant guards with Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell, plus another guard who loves to shoot in Buddy Hield. They can’t possibly play the 4 of them at once, the defense could have prime Hakeem as their 5th and still be horrendous. While I like Richaun Holmes as role player his defense lacks as well.
The best thing this team could do is trade for Simmons. A defensive stud who can drive to the basket, and make plays. The Kings also suffer from having the worst coach in the league, Luke Walton. Walton and the Kings are in for a rough season, which might see them saying goodbye to some of their core players.
Denver Nuggets Over 47.5
Coming off an MVP season, Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets are looking to make the jump from perennial playoff team, to title contender. They have had playoff success the past two seasons but couldn’t get past the hump. Late last season rising star Jamal Murray tore his ACL just weeks before the playoff run. While Murray is out for at least the first half of the season, the other Nuggets will need to step up in order for the team tops in the west again.
This team gets a full season of Aaron Gordon, and Will Barton is fully healthy for the first time since last march. I am excited to see how Michael Porter Jr. looks in the absence of Jamal Murray. Many around the league are expecting a major jump from Porter Jr in year three.
The Nuggets have intriguing role players from PJ Dozier, to rookie Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland . They will need one of the guards to step up as well as more of a scoring effort from Gordon and Porter. Nikola Jokic is a threat to take over any game, he is one of my favorite league pass alerts (a player who gets so hot you have to text a friend telling them to turn on a random basketball game in December, Steph Curry usually leads this made up stat).
He can keep the Nuggets in any game, which always helps the win total. The Nuggets high powered offense and good coaching will lead them to another strong season, I expect another 50 win season for Michael Malone.
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