Philadelphia 76ers: Could Norvel Pelle steal Trey Burke’s contract in 2020?

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Could Norvel Pelle’s recent success as the Philadelphia 76ers’ block-happy backup center soon cost Trey Burke the remainder of his non-guaranteed contract?

Norvel Pelle is a 26-year-old rookie undrafted free agent.

Despite graduating from high school all the way back in 2012 (same, dude), it took Pelle six years, seven teams, two separate stints in the G/D-League, and time spent on three different continents to finally make his NBA debut.

And despite all of that, Pelle very well may be the Philadelphia 76ers‘ best backup center.

More from Philadelphia 76ers

Now to be fair, technically Al Horford is the Sixers’ best backup center, but can you really call a player who has started every game this season (when healthy) a true backup? I wouldn’t.

No, when it comes to actual backup big men on the 15 man roster – the dynamic(ish) Kyle O’Quinn, Jonah Bolden – Pelle shines above the rest – even though he isn’t technically on the 15 man roster.

However, the 76ers have a perfect opportunity to change that just in time for the new year.

You see, in the NBA most contracts are fully guaranteed. However, occasionally, a veteran free agent will sign a non-guaranteed deal going into camp if, well, the team isn’t sure if he’ll make the roster.

It happened with Carmelo Anthony in Portland, it happened with Dwight Howard in LA, and it happened right here in the City of Brotherly Love with our very own third-string point guard/AI-enthusiast Trey Burke.

However, unlike Melo, Burke’s deal has yet to be converted to guaranteed money.

Granted, if the 76ers do nothing and simply roll with Burke’s salary on the books into 2020, as his deal will automatically convert on January 10th, but based on playing time alone, can you really imagine Elton Brand letting that happen?

As crazy as it sounds, Pelle has actually earned nine more minutes with the Sixers in December, despite playing on a two-way contract that limits his time with the big club.

Why not roll with the momentum and make that a permanent thing?

In case you haven’t noticed, December 15th has finally passed, which means that veteran players who signed new deals over the summer can officially be traded. That includes players like Burke, O’Quinn, and Horford, yes, but also (literally) hundreds of other players who can now be dealt without restriction.

If you’ve read any sort of trade proposal involving the team, even one for a low-priced player like Allonzo Trier (more on that here) Burke, or more specifically his contract, is typically included to get a deal done.

In a way, I guess you can call Burke a true facilitator both on and off the court, right? (I’m sorry).

Is there a real market for Burke? Would a team like, say, the Miami Heat surrender a second-round pick for the 6-foot tall combined guard to bolster their bench scoring? Or does Burke’s only value come in a package deal, signaling that Elton Brand may be out Christmas shopping for a sixth man to ring in the new year?

Or maybe it’s nothing?

dark. Next. Joel Embiid has always been able to respond to criticism and handle adversity

Ultimately the Philadelphia 76ers don’t have to do anything to keep Norvel Pelle around for the remainder of the regular season, but if his spark plug performances as of late are to be taken at face value, converting his contract feels like the right call. Based on recent Instagram activities are of any indication, I’m pretty sure I know who Trey Burke’s dad would like to be released to facilitate such a move.