“What wins in the playoffs, it’s men, can you switch and can you make a 3?” Brett Brown
On a night where the Sixers return from a west coast trip to face Toronto, Brett Brown spoke more about the looming trade deadline than the game at hand.
“The design of the team might change” – Brett Brown on limited takeaways from a February game against Toronto.— J Blevins (@JBlevinsPFO) February 5, 2019
“It for sure has heated up, in the past week” on communication with Elton Brand.
As it turned out, Brett was right in his assessment of the limited value of a February game against Toronto where both teams were missing starters. Landry Shamet started in place of JJ Redick, who was a last minute scratch with Nausea. Wilson Chandler missed the game with a Quad injury suffered on the west coast causing Mike Muscala to start in his place.
For what it’s worth, the Sixers dropped the Tuesday night affair, 119-107 to the Raptors. Redick’s scratch came as a surprise to Brett Brown, who didn’t find out until his walk onto the court. Brown noted after the game that he had been meeting with Elton right up until game time about potential roster moves. This may indicate something is deep in negotiation and Elton was seeking input from his coach. As of 11pm, no deal had been announced.
“The Design of the Team Might Change”
Brown didn’t shy away from the pressing deadline. He initiated the conversation around the work in progress that is the Sixers roster early in the pre-game press conference.
Brett continues to take a “face of the franchise” responsibility as he spoke much more in terms of a front office executive than a typical coach. He cited his deep respect, trust and communication with Elton Brand.
“I think he’s got the whole package, I think he has the chance to be great” – Brett Brown on Elton Brand
This quote seems more like a coach talking about a high potential player than his boss. But the relationship between Brown and Brand started as a player and coach. Brown spoke about that relationship setting the tone of their active communication and shared understanding about the importance of a locker room presence as well as talent.
Brewer to Return?
Reading between some lines that were double and triple spaced, it is clear that the team would like to bring Corey Brewer back. Due to timing of the expiration of his second 10 day contract and the trade deadline, the Sixers are without Brewer at least for now.
Brewer would need to be signed for the veteran minimum for the remainder of the season at this point. The Sixers are likely waiting until at least Thursdays trade deadline to see if they can free up a roster spot for Brewer of whom Brown spoke glowingly.
Here is video of Brown on the original signing of Brewer.
Brewer clearly lived up to these expectations and exceeded them in many respects. He averaged 7points in 20 minutes per game over the 7 games he played for the Sixers including 3 starts.
With roster space at a premium and the possibility of an asset consolidation or diversification deal in play, the team has decided to leave its options open.
So what are those options? Well some names mentioned connected to the Sixers in rumors are:
Wesley Matthews SG/SF
18million dollar salary, would require some combination of Wilson Chandler and other players. Sixers will likely hope he last until after the deadline and is bought out by New York.
Dewayne Dedmon – C
7.2 million, similar situation but a little easier for the Sixers to make the money work with Amir, Korkmaz and maybe Justin Patton. This would essentially be paying for the certainty of not letting Dedmon go to another team with a player in Justin Patton who has some upside.
Taurean Prince + Dedmon – SF/C
This combination works within the same financial model as a pure Dedmon trade but likely requires the Sixers to part with multiple firsts or Markelle Fultz.
Wayne Ellington – SG
6.2 million – Miami may have little interest in trading with the Sixers, but Ellington has fallen out of the rotation lately. The money on this is a little wonky so its unlikely to come to fruition.
Nikola Mirotic – PF
12million – This would likely require Patton, Johnson and Muscala. The bet here is that the Sixers can acquire a backup center in the buyout market. Another option is to swap Wilson Chandler for Mirotic and attach 2nd round picks.
Jrue Holiday – PG/SG
25million – This trade solves many needs for the Sixers but the money gets tricky. Just financially the package would have to look something like Butler, or a combination of Fultz, Chandler, Korkmaz and Johnson. It would be a huge move, that would solve some depth problems while creating others.
Wait for the Buyouts?
So the option still exists after Thursday to hold firm and wait to see what players become available via the buyout market. Last year the Sixers acquired both Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Bellinelli this way. Trades allow for careful consideration of players, role and fit. Buyout candidates carry less certainty but also less cost of acquisition.
So as important as a nationally televised game against Toronto would seem to be on the schedule, the team has its eyes on a much longer view.