The Philadelphia 76ers are working under the radar before the Feb. 21 trading deadline. The Sixers may not really need to make a trade, since they truly need Andrew Bynum more than anyone on the trade market. But according to Fox Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico on Feb.15, the Toronto Raptors want to engage the Sixers to make a deal.
In listing a collection of NBA trade rumors, Amico mentions near the bottom that the Raptors are “in conversations” with the Sixers to deal Andrea Bargnani. He also quotes a “Western Conference executive” who predicts that Philadelphia would have to offer Spencer Hawes in such a trade.
Previous rumors had the Sixers dangling Hawes and Evan Turner to the Atlanta Hawks for Josh Smith. However, nothing concrete has come from those rumors or any others so far. Yet if things between the Raptors and Sixers get serious, Philadelphia would be in line to get a former No. 1 draft pick in Bargnani, albeit an oft-injured one.
Bargnani has played less than 80 games in each of the last three seasons. In fact, he only played 31 games in 2011-12 and has only been in 25 this season. He has still averaged 14.8 points in these games, and he is the kind of 7 foot power forward/center that the Sixers are starving for without Bynum.
If the Sixers are really interested in Bargnani, it has to be a sign that Bynum is not close to playing at all. However, acquiring Bargnani would be a case of putting one injury-prone center in place of another. In addition, he had been battling an illness this week and only played 30 combined minutes in the Raptors’ last two games before the All-Star break.
Even if the Sixers don’t gamble on Bargnani, they may still feel the need to gamble on someone. Amico also claimed that both Philadelphia and the Chicago Bulls will become “more aggressive” right before the deadline, according to his sources. Both franchises are missing franchise players in Bynum and Derrick Rose and are unlikely to get them back soon, so they could pursue trades in lue of waiting around much longer.
With only five days left until the deadline, the Sixers will either shake themselves up to save this season, or stay put and focus on next year. But if they’re going to take a shot, they’ll need a better offer.