The Philadelphia 76ers' hot start to the 2023-24 shows they've got championship potential. However, the best way to capitalize on the team's window is to add another star alongside Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.
Luckily, the James Harden trade provided Daryl Morey with extra assets to go big-game hunting. And even more fortunately, there's a perfect trade target who's becoming more available by the day, as All-Star guard Zach LaVine ponders an exit from the struggling Chicago Bulls.
It'll take a haul to pry LaVine away considering he'd be switching sides in the same conference and he's been Chicago's franchise player over the past few years. That's why Morey must make a convincing offer, and we think this should be enough to get things done:
76ers Trade Rumors: Realistic Zach LaVine Offer
A theoretical deal of Robert Covington, Marcus Morris Sr., Danuel House Jr. and Furkan Korkmaz, plus the 76ers' unprotected 2026 first-round pick, the Los Angeles Clippers' 2028 first-round selection and a pair of second-rounders (76ers' in 2027 and 2028) could be enough to land LaVine.
Obviously, this isn't a player-focused haul for Chicago. Covington and Morris are past their primes, while House and Korkmaz are mere reserve contributors. However, they're all on expiring deals, giving the Bulls' salary cap books a major cleansing to begin a rebuild. They'd also be perfect low-impact veterans to lead a tank bid for the top overall pick.
Instead, the gravy is in the picks Chicago would stand to receive from this exchange. An unprotected selection, even from a team that fancies itself a contender, is an incredibly valuable asset considering the number of things that could go wrong down the line.
Even though acquiring LaVine would strengthen the Sixers' roster right now, there's no telling how his arrival will actually play out. Joel Embiid has made it clear he's ready to jump ship if things go south, so the Bulls would stand to benefit if this move blows up in Morey's face.
From Philadelphia's side, it's certainly a risk to leave this pick unprotected, but that's the kind of asset Chicago would have a tough time turning down. Meanwhile, the Clippers' 2028 first-rounder and the pair of Sixers second-round picks are the sweeteners considering the lackluster players changing sides.
Los Angeles is a mess following the Harden trade, and if this experiment doesn't work out, we could see the Paul George-Kawhi Leonard era come crumbling down. The Bulls would again benefit from a team's downfall that has a legitimate chance of becoming reality. Those seconds just add to Chicago's cache of draft capital, which their front office could certainly use to retool and help pull off a LaVine-like trade when they're ready.
Giving up picks that could end up being major chips in the future hurts, but it's the cost of star hunting in the present. The 76ers simply can't afford to waste another season with Embiid as their focal point considering his wavering loyalty right now.
The Milwaukee Bucks found themselves in a similar spot a couple years ago with Giannis Antetokounmpo, but aggressive moves led them to win an NBA Finals title, which has bolstered his commitment to the team.
Philly would be lucky to follow that same path, but it starts with making a bold acquisition. Landing LaVine is the exact kind of addition that could help Embiid's championship dreams come true.
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