The NBA trade deadline passed Thursday afternoon and the Philadelphia 76ers made a trade, but not the one folks expected. The team sent picks and bench players to Oklahoma City and the Knicks in a three-team deal that brought George Hill to the Eastern Conference leaders.
Fans were hoping that former Villanova star Kyle Lowry would come home to increase Sixers championship odds, and possibly win a ring as he did in Toronto.
However, the Raptors wanted multiple picks and young stars in Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle. Most Philly fans who have seen teams mortgage the future for win-now options with aging stars (Adam Oates, anyone?) thought this was too much for a 35-year-old with an expiring contract.
Sixers Championship Odds
The last Saturday of March saw the Sixers 1.5 games ahead of Brooklyn atop the East, 2.5 ahead of Milwaukee, and the rest of the conference disappearing in the rear-view mirrors.
However, the Sixers continue to trail these teams on the NJ sports betting futures board. Despite trading for a sharpshooter guard that compliments the offense, Philly remains sixth on the NBA title boards, ranging from +1100 to +1400.
Why No Major Moves?
For the top six teams (Nets, Lakers, Clippers, Bucks, Jazz, Sixers) in the NBA Futures’ Markets, this was the biggest trade deadline move. Yes, the James Harden trade earlier this year probably takes home the biggest in-season trade. Adding LaMarcus Alridge gives the Nets even more experienced depth.
However, the failure for anyone at the top to acquire Lowry or another star reinforces the tricky balancing act that is building an NBA roster. Teams can acquire all the top-end talent and have multiple All-Stars but the game still only allows for one player to control the ball at once. Not everyone can score 35 a night.
Brooklyn traded away most of their assets for Harden earlier this year, which makes them vulnerable when multiple members of the Big 3 can’t play. That leads to embarrassing losses like the 30-point L they took in Salt Lake City.
Philadelphia continues their West Coast swing without MVP-caliber Joel Embiid. So far, the team has risen to the challenge. After being blown out in Cleveland in December without Jo, the Sixers won in New York, Golden State, and defeated the Lakers without the center.
Daryl Morey raised some eyebrows by mostly standing pat on Thursday afternoon. The team’s backcourt has improved and the bench continues to play more key minutes. Doc Rivers’ first year seems to be fixing some of the deficiencies the team had under Brett Brown.
This three-team race in the East may shrink to two if the Bucks can’t start winning games. Milwaukee has a slightly easier divisional battle in the Central but the Bulls and Pacers will continue to fight for the play-in spots. The Bucks came back to win in OT in South Philly (without Embiid) and will host the Sixers for two in April.
So is it time to buy the Sixers’ futures? It might be. I thought the team was underpriced most of the season. At least now they’re not looking up at Boston in the markets.
Expect to see Embiid and Hill join the team when the Sixers conclude their road trip. Adding another sharpshooter to Danny Green and Seth Curry, along with an experienced floor general for the young second unit. Keeping the starters fresh has helped Philadelphia close out games and push back second-half comebacks. As the playoffs go on, those legs will be tested.
NBA Futures Betting Odds