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Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Sixers Notebook: What assets do Sixers have?

Posted by Eric Fisher On February 5

How much value does former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz (pictured) have to other teams? The Sixers may find out before Thursday’s trade deadline. The Sixers’ best hope of acquiring bench much-needed help would be to trade rookies and draft picks.

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The 76ers would like to acquire some help for their bench before Thursday’s trade deadline. They need a perimeter defender, preferably one who can shoot, a backup center and a backup point guard who isn’t a liability on defense.

The need for bench help was evident Saturday during the Sixers’ 115-108 loss to the Kings. Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler scores 29 points apiece and Ben Simmons added 22. With JJ Redick getting a day off for rest, however, no other Sixer cracked double digits.

Identifying what the Sixers need in order to solidify their status as legitimate championship contenders isn’t difficult. What’s hard is figuring out what the Sixers have that other teams may want in exchange.

Wilson Chandler, along with his expiring contract, might be attractive to some teams. But remember that the Sixers’ trading partner is likely to be a non-playoff team. Why would a non-playoff team want a veteran except to acquire his expiring contract? Another issue with trading Chandler is that he is valuable to the Sixers. His scoring is inconsistent and he has been sidelined by injuries – he’s currently expected to miss 2-3 weeks due to a quadriceps injury – but he’s helpful on the defensive end and has occasional bursts of offense.

Another option is to trade rookies. A young team outside of the playoff picture might be interested in rookies Landry Shamet, Jonah Bolden and Zhaire Smith (who hasn’t played yet this season due to a foot injury and an allergic reaction). The Sixers haven’t demonstrated a willingness to trade those rookies, but they might have to in the right deal.

The most intriguing player the Sixers have in terms of the trade market is Markelle Fultz. Unfortunately for the Sixers, Fultz’s value, which has already plummeted, drops with each game he doesn’t play. Fultz could be considered damaged good right now. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft wouldn’t bring back more than a late first-round pick in exchange, and even that seems unlikely. The last thing the Sixers would want to see is Fultz, who is only 20 years old, develop into a star after being traded away in a middle-of-the-road deal.

The Sixers don’t have many players who might be attractive to trade partners, but they do have draft picks which could be enticing. The Sixers have an extra first-round pick in 2021, courtesy of the Heat. The Sixers could trade that pick, or their own first-rounder that year, but that might be a tad expensive for a complementary part.

On the other hand, there’s no guarantee that the Sixers will be able to re-sign Jimmy Butler after the season, so giving up a future first-round pick might be worth taking a shot right now while they have Butler, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons together. It also should be noted that JJ Redick isn’t going to get any younger.

Expect the Sixers to make a move to improve their bench before the trade deadline. Standing pat sends the wrong message.

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SOMETHING BREWING? Reports that the Sixers won’t sign Corey Brewer for the rest of the season may be an indication that they expect to make a trade. By not re-signing Brewer – who can’t be signed to a third 10-day contract – the Sixers create an open roster spot.

The Sixers are risking having Brewer sign with another team, but the payoff of a trade is worth that risk. If Brewer isn’t picked up by another team, they can always bring him back later.

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EYE ON MATTHEWS: A player to keep an eye on is guard Wes Matthews. He was traded from the Mavericks to the Knicks last week in the Kristaps Porzingis deal. The Knicks, who are trying to tank, will likely trade Matthews or buy out his contract. The Sixers would love to pick up Matthews after he’s bought out, the way they got Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli last season, but a trade would eliminate the competition they might face if they tried to sign Matthews after his contract is bought out.

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RISING STAR: Ben Simmons could be extremely busy during All-Star week. Simmons was selected as a reserve for the All-Star Game, which takes place on Feb. 17 in Charlotte. Simmons was also selected for the World squad for the Rising Stars Challenge, which takes place two days earlier in Charlotte.

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HONORING MALONE: The Sixers will retire the uniform number (2) of center Moses Malone on Friday during a halftime ceremony. Malone, who died three years ago, was a three-time NBA MVP and made 12 NBA All-Star teams. He was a relentless rebounder and a terrific scorer. During the 1983 playoffs, Malone averaged 26 points and 15.8 rebounds as he powered the Sixers to the NBA title.

Despite only playing four seasons with the Sixers, Malone richly deserves to have his number retired. The only question is “What took them so long?”

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EXCUSES, EXCUSES: The Sixers went 2-2 on their recent road trip, which proved nothing. The Sixers opened the trip with a loss to Denver, which they could blame on injuries to  Jimmy Butler and Wilson Chandler and a “rest” day for Joel Embiid. The Sixers bounced back with a win over the Lakers, who were missing LeBron James due to injury. The Sixers then upended the Warriors, which is always a big deal, but a little bit of edge was taken off the victory due to the absence of Klay Thompson. The Sixers, with JJ Redick resting, then lost the next game to the Kings. In other words, the loser of every game during the road trip could use the excuse that they were shorthanded.

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GOOD BREAK (FOR SIXERS): The Sixers’ quest for homecourt advantage during the playoffs wasn’t helped much by their 2-2 road trip, but it was helped by a season-ending injury to the Pacers’ victory Oladipo. A ruptured quadriceps tendon in his right leg required season-ending surgery, which will make it difficult for the Pacers to remain among the top four teams in the Eastern Conference.

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BARKLEY SPEAKS OUT (SURPRISE!): During a recent TNT broadcast, Charles Barkley criticized against Rich Paul for trying to build a “super team” with the Lakers. Paul is part of Klutch Sports, which represents LeBron James and Anthony Davis. With Davis telling the Pelicans he wants to be traded, and the Lakers immediately jumping in to try to acquire Davis, Barkley was critical of Paul for trying to orchestrate a trade that would bring Davis and James together.

Barkley’s criticism was on the money, but the target of his wrath should have been James. Paul isn’t trying to make this happen without King James, who is trying to build the roster around him.

Not surprisingly, there is tension on the Lakers. There are reports that players aren’t happy about having their names in trade rumors. This could cause problems because of the widespread perception that James is calling the shots. As always seems to be the case with James’ teams, the head coach is apparently on thin ice. Stay tuned for more drama, which is sort of appropriate in Los Angeles.

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TLC TRADED: For the Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot fans out there, the player the Sixers selected with the 24th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft was traded from the Thunder to the Bulls, along with cash, in exchange for a protected 2020 draft pick.

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ROUGH HOMECOMING: After completing their four-game western swing, the Sixers don’t have a soft landing when they return to Wells Fargo Center for a four-game homestand. They host the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors on Tuesday (8 p.m.) and the Northwest Division-leading Nuggets on Friday (7 p.m.). The Lakers, presumably with a healthy LeBron James, visit the Sixers on Sunday (3:30 p.m.). The Celtics, who have moved into a tie with the Sixers (34-19), come to town next Tuesday (8 p.m.) before Sixers visit the lowly Knicks at Madison Square Garden in their final game before the All-Star break.

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