While Furkan Korkmaz is the Philadelphia 76ers’ best bench scorer, could he be included in a trade deadline deal to secure an even better scorer?
“Zhaire Smith and Mike Scott have very little trade value.”
I mean think about it, despite shooting lights out against the Miami Heat in arguably the team’s worst loss in three years, Mike Scott has been downright awful this season, and looks borderline unplayable in a regular-season rotation, let alone the playoffs. Granted, every team could use a 6-foot-7 forward who can guard on the wings, but when he’s shooting well below the NBA’s 35 percent 3 point shooting Mendoza line, that market is rather slim.
And as for Zhaire Smith, well, he can’t even make it into Brett Brown‘s regular-season rotation with any regularity and has had to play second banana even in the G-League to 2019 second-round pick Marial Shayok. Could the 20-year-old shooting guard eventually get it all together and become a solid dunk-and-D second unit option? Quite possibly so, but with Matisse Thybulle wholly taking his place as a defensive sixth man and most teams looking for pieces who can at least contribute now, it’s not hard to see Smith’s value being wildly subjective and only really being attractive to a handful of taking teams.
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Bobby, you made my Philly blood boil, but I concede that you have a point.
So, as it becomes abundantly clear that the 76ers aren’t going to win it all with their current roster, and their ‘pieces of value’ aren’t nearly as valuable as fans would like, how exactly are the 76ers going to add a second unit scorer who can impact the game? A player like, say Denver’s Malik Beasley?
They may have to give up a better player.
You see, while most would consider Thybulle plus the starting five borderline untradeable, either because of their value or their contract situations, what about Furkan Korkmaz?
Arguably the most encouraging development of the 2019-20 season, Korkmaz has transformed himself from a deep bench reserve into a legitimate scorer coming off the bench. While he’s still a borderline bad defender and could use some continued development as a scorer, Korkmaz deserves a ton of credit for his efforts, and will certainly have a long-term deal somewhere next season.
But just how good is Korkmaz? Is he a legit sixth man? Is he better served in an eight man role? Could Korkmaz eventually elevate his game one step further and become a fifth starter? These are questions the 76ers have, I don’t know, 24 hours to answer.
Why? Simple, he may be the 76ers’ best trade asset.
As crazy as it sounds, there very well may actually be a market for Korkmaz over the next two days. Given his age, his cap number, and his presumed next contract evaluation, there’s a chance that some team, like the Denver Nuggets or the Sacramento Kings, may value adding a player like Korkmaz in addition to picks in a trade over a prospect like Smith, or a minutes filler like Scott.
Heck, teams like the Lakers may even have interest in a 40-percent bench shooter like Korkmaz, even if a tangible trade is pretty hard to identify.
And before you ask, no, I’m not going to mock Korkmaz and picks for Kyle Kuzma, I don’t need that kind of negativity in my DMs.
Now I know moving on from Korkmaz would be a tough pill to swallow, as the third-year bomba has become something of a cult figure in our fair city, but if you can swap him out for a player like Beasley, in addition to OKC‘s protected first-round pick, you kind of have to do it if you consider the Florida State product a long-term fit worthy of a long-term contract. Heck, you could probably package Korkmaz, Scott, OKC’s first and a future second and land Beasley and 6-foot-9 swing forward Juan Hernangómez, another Nuggets impending free agent.
While Beasley is certainly a better player than Korkmaz, he will certainly cost more next summer, and for a team like Denver with a tailor-made sixth man named Michael Porter Jr. waiting on the bench, and ex-Sixer Jeremi Grant ready for a starting role.
And as for the Sixers? Well, this could be their last chance to get this season right.
If this is truly the Sixers’ last chance to add a contributor for the playoffs before they inevitably lose again in the second round, fire Brett Brown, and reshuffle the front office, no player, especially a bench scorer, should be off the table because of their potential two, three, four years down the line.
If Furkan Korkmaz is still a member of the Philadelphia 76ers when they tip-off against the Milwaukee Buck on Thursday night, the team will certainly not be any worse off, but I wouldn’t consider the 22-year-old wing untouchable by any regard; the Sixers need to get better and better fast, and no one player should hold that up.