The Sixers are floating in NBA purgatory. At least for now.
With the future looking bright for Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and the rest of the second youngest team in the NBA, the here and now is sort of murky.
With blown lead after blown lead and the NBA's worst turnovers per game — and it's not even close — the Sixers are above the .500 mark by sheer talent alone. They are a fringe playoff team but a likely first round exit. The team needs some kind of reliable ball handler and distributor and fourth quarter scorer to take the ball out of chucking Robert Covington's hands in crunchtime.
First overall pick Markelle Fultz was supposed to be that presence, but he can't get on the court — or even get his jump shot back.
Enter the latest NBA trade rumor: Kemba Walker is on the trade block.
Few other teams make more sence than the Sixers, who could make a serious playoff run in the short term while mortgaging little of their future in the short term. The Sixers have a lot of valuable assets, from the Lakers draft pick next year to young big men Dario Saric and Richuan Holmes to veterans with good contracts like Amir Johnson and Trevor Booker.
Would Michael Jordan be willing to trade Walker for some combination of those assets?
All indication is that MJ and the Hornets want to get a superstar in return for the 27-year-old who is averaging 21.8 points per game, the second best mark of his seven-year career. But those could be in short supply.
If there is no other bidder before the February 8 trade deadline, the Sixers could provide the best return for a team looking to "tank" and find a new strategy. Or, the Hornets could ask for Fultz. Would that be a deal-breaker?
In theory, Fultz is big enough to play shooting guard with Fultz at point for a future contending Sixers team. But Kemba is in his prime and he has a fully developed jumpshot. Perhaps a swap that includes the Hornets first round pick could be a fair trade?
Things on the Walker front will surely heat up as the deadline nears.