NBA Trade Deadline Watch: Counting Down to 3 p.m. with the Still-Middling Sixers

NBA Trade Deadline Watch: Counting Down to 3 p.m. with the Still-Middling Sixers

The NBA trade deadline is set for 3 p.m. this afternoon.

This, typically, is one of my favorite days of the year, because there's nothing I love more than professional basketball teams trading troubled baggage.

Remember 2009 — when Raef LaFrentz's $13 million expiring contract was the most valuable asset on the market? That's the kind of world I want to live in all the time.

Dealings have been slow thus far, with only the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns getting together to (in order) acquire the No. 5 selection in last year's draft, shed some salary and reunite the Philly-born Morris twins for the price of a second-round pick.

And so, with mere hours to go, which of your Philadelphia 76ers is on the trade block? Kind of the whole team aside from Jrue Holiday. Grantland's Chris Ryan wants to restart the Andre Iguodala era with this fictional offer for Danny Granger.

Then again, no one would be surprised if the Sixers held steady until 3 p.m. As of last night, the team's phones were "pretty quiet."  As Adrian Wojnarowski just put it:



Either way, just for fun, here are five potential candidates to get shipped:

Nick Young: Swaggy is on a one-year, $6 million deal and has seemingly matured enough under Doug Collins that a team in need of scoring depth could want him to play for his fourth team in the last two seasons.

Dorell Wright: A similar circumstance. Dorell's $4 million comes off the books this summer and he's been less and less a factor for the Sixers as the season has gone on. Wright remains highly versatile and its unclear as to why he falls in and out of favor with head coach Doug Collins, but he's certainly not the first to have that happen. Wright is a cheap enough option with upside for the next few months.

Spencer Hawes: Teams are always in need of functional bigs, and Hawes is wrapped up in a neat little two-year deal that will pay him $6.5 million this year and next. Hawes isn't anyone's savior, but he's young and he's shown enough in flashes to entice some playoff-bound teams in need of short-term, cost-effective help in their frontcourt.

Royal Ivey/Damian Wilkins: Expiring throw-ins.

Really, unless they're called with something tempting, the Sixers are probably better off holding onto their own EC's to generate their own cap space.

The elephant in the room here is obviously Andrew Bynum, but his fate will be decided this summer and not this afternoon. The most likely scenario remains the Sixers staying put, continuing to wait for Bynum, and hoping they learn something from watching him play with this roster for a even a handful of games.

If the Sixers don't do anything today, they'll have almost $29 million (including Bynum) coming off the books this summer.

That sounds like good news, but here's the real question: Do you trust the Sixers, assuming they do not reach a new agreement with Bynum, with that kind of cap space?

Sixers take lasting lessons from talk with Will Smith at team dinner

Sixers take lasting lessons from talk with Will Smith at team dinner

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The sprawling city skyline could have been the highlight of the Sixers' team dinner at One Liberty Place on Monday night. Instead, it was a surprise celebrity appearance that left them in awe.

Will Smith, who is part of the Sixers’ ownership, caught the players off guard when he visited with the team to offer advice and answer questions.

“Man, that’s one of my idols,” Nerlens Noel said following the first training camp session at Stockton University. “Everything he said I really took in and all the guys did too.”

Rather than entertaining the group with his acting or musical skills, Smith imparted important lessons that are applicable in sports. The 48-year-old has had decades of success across multiple platforms, and he offered pieces of wisdom that can resonate in any situation. 

“If you have bad people around you, that’s how people see you and that’s how you are,” Joel Embiid said. “He said to have good people around. That’s the main thing I got from that.”

The Sixers had differing memorable moments the morning after Smith’s visit, which demonstrated how many topics he addressed with the team. 

“He’s a good guy,” Ben Simmons said. “I definitely learned a lot from hearing him talk … You’ve got to look at things from a positive and negative with every situation.”

Jahlil Okafor was especially caught up in Smith’s appearance. Smith is Okafor’s favorite actor, most notably for his role in I Am Legend, and impressed Okafor with his character. 

“We already know about his accolades and how smart he is and obviously he’s an entertaining person,” Okafor said. “But it just seemed like he really wanted to be there to help us out. I just took away that he was a great person.”

Okafor also added, “It just helps [to hear from him] because the road to success is pretty much the same. It’s about being focused, it’s about knowing that you’re going to be knocked down, you’re going to fail. That was one of the messages that Will Smith shared, was expect failure but the main thing is to get back up.”

Noel previously had seen Smith courtside at Sixers games, and this was his first opportunity to hear directly from him. Noel listened to everything Smith had to say, from how to deal with the media to ranking his best and worst movies. 

“Never get caught up in too much of the negativity,” Noel recounted. 

While people view professional athletes as celebrities, the Sixers were on the opposite side Monday evening. 

“It’s hard to get starstruck nowadays,” Noel said. “But when you see Will Smith, it’s a whole different ballgame.”

Tonight's lineup: With only RHPs left, could Ryan Howard start every game?

Tonight's lineup: With only RHPs left, could Ryan Howard start every game?

If healthy, Ryan Howard is expected to start all three games in the Phillies' final series of the season Sept. 2-4 at home against the Mets.

He might also start the entire Braves series.

The Phillies' final six games are all against right-handed starting pitchers: Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz and Josh Collmenter in Atlanta; Robert Gsellman, Bartolo Colon and Noah Syndergaard with the Mets. That could mean six starts for Howard before his time with the Phillies expires.

Howard's batting average has been below .200 for practically the entire season, but he's been much better since the All-Star break, hitting .259/.325/.598 with 11 homers, five doubles and 25 RBIs in 123 plate appearances (see game notes). He went 0 for 6 in his last two starts but homered in each of his two previous starts to reach 23 for the third year in a row.

Here's the Phillies' full lineup Tuesday against Teheran:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Roman Quinn, LF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P

Matt Kemp is out of the Braves' lineup.

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Nick Markakis, RF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Jace Peterson, 2B
7. Dansby Swanson, SS
8. Mallex Smith, LF
9. Julio Teheran, P

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