With the trade deadline on the horizon, rumors have come out that the Philadelphia 76ers are interested in Pelicans’ forward Nikola Mirotic. It is in the team’s best interest to not pursue him.
Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Sixers have shown interest in Mirotic over the past few weeks.
For those who aren’t familiar, Nikola Mirotic is a solid stretch four who can score the ball at will. He’s great at spot-up shooting and is a great floor spacer for any team.
It’s not shocking that the Sixers are interested in possibly acquiring him.
You, the reader, probably think I’m crazy for writing a piece with that headline. It sounds like a perfect fit with what the Sixers need.
Why wouldn’t the Sixers want him?
There’s actually more reasons than you might think.
Why they shouldn’t:
Let’s begin with looking at Mirotic’s salary, and why it makes things complicated. Mirotic is currently making $12.5 million on the season. It’s not an outrageous contract, and it’s expiring. So what issues are there with it?
When it comes to trading players you have to try to match salary to a certain extent. The only trade-able pieces on the Sixers in this scenario would be Wilson Chandler or Markelle Fultz.
Per numerous reports, the team has been hesitant to add Markelle Fultz to any trade. That very well could rule him out of this type of trade.
That leaves Wilson Chandler.
While Chandler has been polarizing for most fans, he is overall more valuable to the Sixers than Nikola Mirotic would be.
Don’t click away! Like I said, I’m not crazy.
Basketball is a game of two ends: offense and defense. While Mirotic would be a better player on the offense end, he would make the Sixers’ defense suffer.
The Eastern Conference is filled with athletic forwards, such as the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Jayson Tatum, and more.
Mirotic is a one-dimensional defender that defenses would pick apart in a playoff type series. We saw something similar to this last year with Dario Saric and the Boston Celtics. Saric was no match for Jayson Tatum or any wing that got switched onto him.
The Sixers’ biggest weakness is a lack of two-way talent; or talent that can defend and score the ball. Mirotic would not help this team on the defensive end, and you can even make the argument he would hurt them in that aspect.
This team needs to get more athletic and versatile.
The Philadelphia 76ers are limited in assets for a trade. They are armed with some expiring deals and decent picks, but they need to make every asset used worth it going forward.
The team is better off pursuing a different kind of trade for this year’s deadline. Mirotic is a player you can entertain in free agency, where you can get him without giving up assets.
This trade deadline will be Elton Brand’s first real test as a GM. Hopefully, he makes the right decision on avoiding Nikola Mirotic (at least, for now).