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Brand-Made Trade That Could Vault the 76ers in the Eastern Conference

Brand-Made Trade That Could Vault the 76ers in the Eastern Conference
Elton Brand, the 76ers first-year general manager, has helped change the franchise and increase optimism for an extended postseason.

After dealing for Jimmy Butler earlier this season, Brand acquired Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott in blockbuster a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Once this trade occurred, the Sixers sent notice that they will be a serious contender in the Eastern Conference.

Not that the Sixers weren’t contenders before the trade with the Clippers, but this significantly improved their postseason chances.

The Sixers had to give up some future assets, but in making the trade, Brand showed that the team is going for it now.

The Sixers sent Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala and Landry Shamet to the Clippers in the deal. Los Angeles will also receive Philadelphia’s own protected 2020 first-round pick, Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick and Detroit’s 2021 and 2023 second-round picks. The Philadelphia first-round pick is protected Nos. 1-14 from 2020-22 and if it does not convey during that time, it becomes 2023 and 2024 Philadelphia second-round picks.

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Shamet, who played better than expected as a rookie, was a tough player to lose, and the other key asset was the unprotected Miami pick in 2021.

Yet to get quality, one has to give up some as well and in Harris, the centerpiece of the deal, the Sixers received one of the best three-point shooting forward in the NBA.

The 6-foot-9 Harris can be a free agent at season’s end, so in a way the Sixers took a gamble in acquiring him, but they did the same with Butler, who will also be a free agent at the end of the season.

The Sixers are confident they can sign both. Even if they sign one of them, the fact that they added Harris to the starting lineup, was significant.

The 26-year-old Harris was having his best season in this his seventh year in the NBA. In 55 games for the Clippers, he averaged 20.9 points and shot 43.4 from three-point range, both career highs.

In his first two games with the Sixers against Denver and the Los Angeles Lakers. Harris blended in seamlessly with his new teammates.

He likely won’t average 20 points with the Sixers, simply because he won’t be the focal point of the offense, but a still very valuable figure.

The Sixers starting lineup of JJ Redick, Butler, Harris and all-stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons is among the best in the NBA.

Only the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors might claim to have a better starting five.

The 7-foot-3 Marjanovic is a solid shot-altering backup to Embiid, who should give the Sixers 10-14 minutes a night. Scott will bring toughness and experience to the Sixers second unit.

This is not to suggest that the Sixers will now walk to the Eastern Conference title. Boston, despite its inconsistent ways, along with Milwaukee and Toronto are viable candidates.

Had Indiana not lost all-star Victor Oladipo to injury, the Pacers might have also been in the conversation. This is the deepest the Eastern Conference has been in some time and the Sixers now have just as good a chance as the other contenders to reach the NBA finals.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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