The Cleveland Cavaliers are bad, and for the Philadelphia 76ers, that might be good.
*Turns on sarcasm* In what has been a shocking revelation, the Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling to stay afloat without LeBron James. Now Tyronn Lue is gone, the team is 0-6, and a fire sale seems inevitable. The Philadelphia 76ers should prepare some offers.
As the Cavs shift into rebuilding mode, their veterans will hit the trade market. George Hill and J.R. Smith are off limits due to contract size, but Kyle Korver, David Nwaba — and perhaps even Kevin Love — are names the Sixers can pursue.
In Korver’s case, Jerryd Bayless‘ expiring contract works when it comes to matching salary. His off-ball movement, floor spacing and experience would add tremendous value to the second unit. He’d also give Landry Shamet another mentor to learn under.
For those clamoring about the Marco Belinelli departure, Korver provides a much-needed resolution. He’s better than Belinelli on both ends, taking fewer bad shots and providing some more stability on defense (even if he’s still a liability overall).
For a Sixers offense that has stagnated at times this season, adding another elite off-ball player who can traverse screens and hit shots on the move like Korver would be highly beneficial.
Korver would also benefit from the attention Embiid draws in the post, dragging his defender around screens and either making timely cuts to the rim or relocating to the perimeter for a three-point attempt.
To put it simply, Korver is a seamless fit in the Sixers’ offense. His price tag is a bit ambiguous at this point. Bayless and a couple second-round picks is reasonable, but another contender might fork over a first-round pick for Korver’s services. Elton Brand would need to weigh the risk-reward in that scenario.
As for Nwaba, he’s someone the Sixers should have targeted this summer. His perimeter shooting is a non-factor, but the secondary ball-handling and defensive toughness are traits the Sixers’ bench would benefit from. Nwaba has attempted (and made) one three-pointer through six games.
At 25 years old, he’s someone the rebuilding Cavs might look to keep. Rodney Hood falls in the same category — someone who can contribute to a contender but might end up riding out the rebuild in Cleveland.
Kevin Love is a different beast entirely. He’s someone fans are rightful to be weary of — he’s 30, fresh off a big-money extension, and his fit in Philadelphia is questionable at best. That’s without mentioning the lingering injuries.
The Sixers would almost certainly need to give up Robert Covington and Dario Saric in a Love trade, which is significant value for a star who doesn’t fit the current timeline. Love spaces the floor, but he’s also a defensive liability who needs post touches.
Love still adds value with his three-point shooting and rebounding. His productivity alone would help in the regular season, while alternating between Embiid and Love at center could give both some extra rest.
How that combination fits in the playoffs, however, raises serious concerns. The Celtics and Raptors are two teams who can exploit Love on switches. Even if he’s an upgrade over Saric, his age, injury concerns and price tag aren’t worth the investment.
Korver and Nwaba are the primary names to watch here, with Korver being the obvious favorite. A rebuilding Cavs team has little use for productive bench minutes from a 37-year-old wing. He’d be better served on a contender. The Sixers fit the bill.