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Jimmy Butler depletes roster depth

Following the Jimmy Butler trade, the Philadelphia 76ers are lacking depth in the frontcourt. Here’s how they can fix this.

The Jimmy Butler trade came out of nowhere. As far as many were concerned, the Philadelphia 76ers weren’t even in the running — it was between the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets. Elton Brand got the deal done, however. Trading away Robert Covington and Dario Saric hurts, but we’re getting a top-10 player in return.

After losing Saric, the 76ers now only have Mike Muscala on the depth chart at power forward. Ben Simmons could play some minutes there, but it’s not his natural position. Also, Jonah Bolden could get some run at power forward, but is he trusted to have a big role yet?

After seeing what Muscala brings to the table, I’d be completely content with him getting the starting job. But who is his backup? There aren’t many players on the trade block this early in the season for the 76ers to acquire. They may have to be patient and wait until something arises.

There is someone familiar who’s available and looking for a team: Trevor Booker. During his short 33 game tenure with the 76ers, Booker played solidly. The 30 year-old did his job, nothing fancy but got it done. He averaged 4.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game for Philadelphia. Booker would provide the second unit with some heart and a whole lot of hustle.

If there’s no one who Brand fancies, he may wait until the offseason to address the issue. If that’s the case, here’s a couple of names that the Sixers could go after: Bobby Portis, Paul Millsap and Marcus Morris.

Bobby Portis a solid big man who’s carved out a nice role with the Chicago Bulls. He started four out of four games this season, but only started four out of 73 games last season. Portis is a decent scorer who can put the ball in the bucket from all over the court. It would be nice to have some offense in the post when Joel Embiid exits the game.

Another option would be Paul Millsap. The 33 year-old power forward has regressed this year after suffering with injuries last season. Millsap may be willing to accept a bench role for a contender. The Nuggets do have a team option on Millsap, but it’s worth over $30 million. It’s almost a guarantee that the Nuggets will turn that option down.

The last option is Marcus Morris of the Boston Celtics. Morris has played almost all of his minutes at the power forward spot for the Celtics. The Kansas product has been a reliable scorer this season,  shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 48.3 from three for 15 points per game.

Next: How should the rotation look with Butler?

There are many avenues that Elton Brand could, and will, explore before making a decision. I don’t envision him waiting until the summer to make a decision, however. We want to win now, so we will have to improve our bench unit ASAP.

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