Philadelphia 76ers find suprise value in ex-Bucknell forward Mike Muscala

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

In a move out that came out of the blue, the Philadelphia 76ers have shipped TLC and Justin Anderson in a three-team deal for center/forward Mike Muscala.

Trade alert, trade alert, the Philadelphia 76ers have finally made a deal!

Though probably not the deal many fans were expecting.

When news broke that the Oklahoma City Thunder had finally traded Carmelo Anthony to the Atlanta Hawks for Dennis Schroder, big man Mike Muscala, and a future protected first-round pick it made a lot of sense for both teams, but apparently, a third party has been included in the deal, your hometown Sixers.

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According to ESPN’s Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Thunder essentially took on Muscala to make the trade work salary wise, and have immediately shipped the fifth-year forward to Philly in exchange for on-the-outs guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

Justin Anderson is also on the move, going to the Hawks to reunite with new head coach Lloyd Pierce.

Though this move does come as a bit of a surprise, as there were no indications that either TLC or Anderson were necessarily on the trade block, the emergence of Furkan Korkmaz as a legitimate 3-and-D wing prospect and Zhaire Smith‘s Summer League defensive dominance obviously made the deal more palatable.

This, when coupled with Nemanja Bjelica‘s decision to forgo signing with the Sixers and instead play overseas in Europe this season created a perfect storm where Philly could once again absorb some salary space from another team, while also fortifying their forward position in the process.

Measuring at 6-foot-11, 240 pounds, Muscala, the only player in NBA history from Bucknell, provides the 76ers with a young, yet experienced big man who can play either power forward or center effectively. Though he finished out the 2017-2018 NBA season with a -0.38 Real Plus-Minus, he was doing so as a member of the Hawks, so that has to be taken with a grain of salt.

Sure, he’s not as good of a shooter as Bjelica, but over the last two seasons, Muscala has quietly developed into a formidable floor spacer, completing 108 of the 277 3-point shots he attempted for almost a 39 completion percentage.

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Though it’ll be hard to watch TLC and Embiid’s best friend Anderson leave town while still on their rookie contracts, it seemed unlikely at best that either player would be entering the team’s starting lineup anytime soon, and by moving on now, the Philadelphia 76ers can add another versatile big man to their roster with a legitimate chance of being a longterm roleplayer moving forward. While this trade may not grab headlines, it’s a smart move for a team looking to add parody to their roster while also trimming it down going into training camp.