What do the Philadelphia 76ers need at the 2022 NBA trade deadline?
Well, assuming they don’t pull the trigger on “the big one,” they could certainly go for some additional playmaking, some size, and two-way players who can shoot a few 3s and crash the boards.
Are there players who can check all of those boxes? Sure, but not very many. It’s very unusual to find a playmaker who is an above-average rebounder and even more rare to find one who also shoots a high percentage from 3, as Russell Westbrook and Ben Simmons will tell you.
Assuming the Sixers opt to largely keep their roster intact and want to avoid trading draft picks in order to keep maximum optionality heading into the offseason – which feels like a 50-50 proposition at this point – that could leave the team with relatively limited options to address their needs, with their best chance coming from a team looking to sell on a player who fits many of their needs.
Fortunately, such a scenario may have just presented itself, and the Philadelphia 76ers won’t have to travel too far down I-95 to make a deal done.
Would Spencer Dinwiddie fit the Philadelphia 76ers’ long-term plans?
Spencer Dinwiddie is an underrated basketball player.
He was a three-star recruit coming out of high school, only drew interest from five colleges, and controversially left Colorado after three years with the Buffs despite tearing his ACL in January of his junior season. Dinwiddie was drafted by the Detroit Pistons 38th overall, played a part-time role with the team over two seasons, and ultimately signed with the Brooklyn Nets in 2016 long before James Harden called the Borough home.
Over the next four seasons, Dinwiddie slowly built up his game from one season to the next and was averaging 20.6 points, 6.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds a night by the 2019-20 season, where he was the team’s second-best healthy player behind only Kyrie Irving. Whether playing off of Iriving or alongside him, Dinwiddie provided Kenny Atkinson/Jacque Vaughn’s squad with plus playmaking, smart passes, and a slasher’s mindset that would make Jason Voorhees jealous, could he think in that waterlogged brain of his.
Had everything remained copasetic, Dinwiddie could have been an asset for the Nets in 2020-21, as Harden and Kevin Durant each played less than half of the Nets games, but alas, it just wasn’t meant to be. Dinwiddie suffered a partial ACL tear just after Christmas and was ruled out for the remainder of the season. Dinwiddie was traded in a five-team package that netted Brooklyn three second-round picks, and he became the new backcourt partner in crime for Bradley Beal, a player as unflappably committed to Washington D.C. as the Lincoln Memorial.
In Washington, Dinwiddie’s run has been… well, it’s been weird, right? In the six games he’s played without Beal, the collegiate Buff has averaged 24 points, 7.5 assists, and 3.3 rebounds a night, while hitting 41.9 percent of his 7.2 3s. His usage was understandably up, and his team recorded a 4-2 record in those contests, according to Statmuse. But in games where Dinwiddie and Beal share the court, well, Dinwiddie’s game has been stifled by Beal’s particular style of play, and his statistics, 10.3 points, five assists, and 4.4 rebounds have largely underwhelmed versus the three-year, $54 million contract he signed before being traded.
Could the Wiz make things work? Maybe so, but according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Washington may opt to cash out on Dinwiddie in favor of better-fitting players and/or guys on shorter-term deals.
As you may or may not have guessed, the Sixers have the assets to get a deal done, but do they have the desire? I guess that depends on the asking price.
Capwise, the Sixers could make a deal fairly easily, with the contracts of Danny Green and Furkan Korkmaz being enough to get a deal done. The team owns a first-round pick in every upcoming draft save 2025, which is owed to OKC via the Al Horford trade, and still have a few extra second-rounders thanks to Sam Hinkie’s asset hoarding obsession. Considering Dinwiddie only cost three second-rounders to acquire from the Nets, and he’s underperformed versus his last full season in Brooklyn, one could assume Daryl Morey would be able to cobble together a pretty good package for the 28-year-old if he wanted to.
But would he? Well, let’s weigh the pros and cons.
Pro: Dinwiddie is a tall, long point guard who could add passing, rebounding, and scoring to the team. He could play alongside or in place of both Tyrese Maxey and Seth Curry and showed a willingness to come off the bench during his run in Brooklyn.
Cons: Dinwiddie is a career 31.8 shooter from 3 and is more of a slasher than an all-around scorer.
On the court, Dinwiddie’s pros outweigh his cons by a pretty significant margin, but there’s one other aspect to factor into the equation that could tip the scales pretty significantly for the worse: His contract.
Now normally, teams like to acquire players on long contracts, as they can factor the player into their plans long-term and don’t have to imminently pay up after half of a season, but in Dinwiddie’s case, it might actually be a negative as the Sixers need to get off of long-term money to better position themselves to be in on the “James Harden sweepstakes” this summer (more on that here). Considering that would appear to be Morey’s wildest desire for the calendar year of 2022, it’s hard to imagine the team tanking on long-term deals unless they are easily movable and part of a bigger deal involving Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris.
Unfortunately for Dinwiddie and Widdieheads(?) in the City of Brotherly Love, that makes a trade hard to imagine.
A few days ago, I would have been all about a Spencer Dinwiddie trade. He’s a fun player, fits many of the team’s needs, and could factor into the team’s plans for years to come, but after the latest round of James Harden news, many of his assets now feel like burdens on a bigger, long-term plan. For the sake of #The Beard, the Philadelphia 76ers would be wise to avoid adding big, long-term deals at the 2022 NBA Trade deadline, especially if it means trading away Danny Green, who has a non-guaranteed $10 million cap hit next season.