The Sixers made a quality trade in the 2022 NBA Draft by sending Danny Green and their 23rd overall pick to the Grizzlies for De’Anthony Melton, and they’re not done exploring their trade options yet.
According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Sixers are still interested in pursuing Rockets guard Eric Gordon. “Sources say Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is still trying to acquire Gordon despite his failure on Thursday night,” according to Pompey.
Gordon would definitely help the Sixers. He’s a capable guard defender when engaged, a powerful driver who would add some extra juice when attacking downhill, and a high-volume three-point shooter with the kind of quick trigger that would complement Sixers stars. when they operate off the ball. Gordon’s three-point percentages have increased slightly year over year, but he’s still shot 36.1 percent from deep on an impressive 8.1 attempts per game over the past six seasons.
However, after the Sixers acquired a solid 6-foot-2 two-way guard in Melton, they have much less need for another smaller guard (Gordon is just 6-foot-3). Philly’s main guard game is already taken care of with James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, while Melton is their new best option on the bench who can also play alongside Harden and Maxey at times – Melton is long and can play a bit above his waist, and operates the ball well with his shot.
Gordon isn’t as needed in this mix of guards, while the team’s lack of wing size, defense, rebounding and general versatility remains more of a concern. Who starts at small forward is always a question – will the Sixers really end up keeping Matisse Thybulle and starting him, or look elsewhere in the trade/free agent market for another option?
Beyond the issues of suitability and need for the roster, it would be more difficult to financially complete a Gordon trade now. To face Gordon, 33, and his $19.5 million salary next season (he’s also under contract for $20.9 million in 2023-24), the Sixers would have to move one of their big salaries, which would probably mean that they’ll need to trade Tobias Harris. There’s been a lot of buzz regarding the Sixers’ trade interest in Harris and others, including Thybulle, but it would still take major moving parts and potentially several other teams involved to make it all work.
So given that there’s less need for Gordon now and it won’t be as easy to acquire him without the option of including Danny Green’s $10 million salary in any trade , this acquisition definitely seems less likely (and necessary) than before the Draft.
Regardless of whether something that big happens or not, Daryl Morey and the Sixers certainly seem to be staying active in pursuit of upgrades. While we’re mostly seeing small free agency signings to address the team’s lack of wing depth, more moves are on the way.