Philadelphia 76ers: A Reggie Bullock trade is all about value

(Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

In case you haven’t heard, Reggie Bullock had a very interesting Fourth of July interaction on Twitter where he shared some pictures with friends with in-frame captions like “He sliding to Philly next” and “next Sixer.”

Those are… oddly specific captions that certainly can’t be creatively misinterpreted, right? Like Bullock’s buddies aren’t talking about ‘Philly’ as in sliding to a Philly steak shop or ‘next Sixer’ as in he’s about to land on his sixth team (he’s actually on his seventh); no, for one reason or another, Bullock thinks he’s going to be a member of the Philadelphia 76ers this fall, and who better to believe than the man himself?

For Bullock, landing in Philly isn’t the worst outcome imaginable; the Sixers aren’t any worse than the Dallas Mavericks, and going from one dominant ball-handler in Luka Doncic to three in Joel Embiid, James Harden, and even Tyrese Maxey, who draw in defenders as they work near the basket will only open up more open looks around the arc.

But what about Philly? Does Reggie Bullock fit the Philadelphia 76ers’ offensive identity, and if so, how much is he “worth” to the team? That question of value and that question alone should define Daryl Morey’s interest in a potential trade with the Dallas Mavericks.

If the value is right, Reggie Bullock makes sense for the Philadelphia 76ers.

If the Dallas Mavericks want to flip Reggie Bullock and cap filler (Dwight Powell, Davis Bertans, Maxi Kleber, or maybe Tim Hardaway Jr.) for Tobias Harris, then the Philadelphia 76ers should absolutely consider making a deal. Philly suddenly has one too many power forward in Harris, P.J. Tucker, Georges Niang, and Danuel House, and even if they have to take back additional bigs to match salary, splitting up one contract into three is typically a good move, especially with the trade deadline many months away and an asset or two left to trade.

For Dallas, such a trade could make some sense too: Dorian Finney-Smith can play either forward spot, and the size advantage of having a forward-sized point guard – remember the days? – would free the Mavs up to run a savvy, switch-heavy defensive scheme with Christian Wood and JaVale McGee splitting the center minutes. Even if the Sixers would have to attach some seconds, a young player, or even a heavily protected 2029 first round pick to get a deal done, the prospects of moving off of Harris for roleplayers make a good bit of sense.

If, however, the Mavericks instead ask for a package centered around Matisse Thybulle, the reported apple of their eyes, well, then the prospects of a deal getting done flips in the other direction.

While a deal of Bullock for Thybulle and Furkan Korkmaz would technically work financially, it’s hard to imagine a numbers guy like Morey who values advanced analytics above all else swapping out two players with a combined wins share of 4.8 for a forward who, though a scheme fit, only recorded a WS of 3.2

Heck, just Thybulle had a higher WS than Bullock last season (3.7), and since he’s six years younger, there’s little reason to believe that the two numbers won’t be headed in the opposite direction moving forward.

Now granted, the Mavericks could make up for the discrepancy in value with additional capital of their own, be that via draft picks or a prospect like Josh Green –  who was picked above Tyrese Maxey in 2020 but hasn’t quite lived up to his draft pedigree – but does that really fit into the Sixers’ win-now mindset? If anything, they’d probably try to flip the pick acquired for immediate on-roster upgrades or to get off of Harris anyway.

No, for the Sixers to make such a deal work, it would likely need to be a three team deal, where the Mavericks come away with Harris, Thybulle, and a conditional 2029 first round pick, the Houston Rockets land Powell, Maxi Kleber, Green, Theo Pinson, and a 2023/24 first round pick from Dallas, and Philly landing Bullock and Eric Gordon. Every team gets what they want, Houston doesn’t take on any long-term salary outside of Green – who fits their timeline – and the Sixers get the two players they want most for the price of the last vestiges of the Elton Brand GM era.

It’s complicated and probably unrealistic for a number of reasons, but it’s hard to identify a two-team deal that feels like equal value for both sides without really giving one of the two teams lesser value or something they don’t really want.

Next. Does trading for Eric Gordon still make sense?. dark

On paper, Reggie Bullock is the exact kind of player the Philadelphia 76ers have been looking for since Danny Green was factored out of their plans for the 2022-23 season; he’s 6-foot-7, can switch on defense, and has established himself as one of the best catch-and-shoot specialists in the NBA today in terms of both attempts and completion percentage. While that production alone probably isn’t worth saying goodbye to a 25-year-old performer with two All-NBA defensive team spots on his resume, if his addition could be complemented with that of a player like Eric Gordon, who is about as playoff-ready as any available player on the market today, then Daryl Morey shouldn’t hesitate in trying to get a deal done.