Sixers look at ‘big moves’ ahead of trade deadline with Kyle Lowry, a name to follow

The Philadelphia 76ers had a chance to make a major move earlier this season when James Harden was on the table and they were among the favorites to sign him. In fact, most of the reports had them as favorites, but it did not happen, perhaps because Houston owner Tilman Fertitta refused to do business with former Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who now runs the store. in Philadelphia.

Either way, the Sixers held on to Ben Simmons, who is probably having the best season of his career. Along with Joel Embiid, a MVP favorite, the Sixers have two of the best defenders in the league and, perhaps with one more addition, a legitimate title shot.

Up to that point, Morey, who has long been one of the NBA’s most aggressive general managers, is looking to make “big moves” before the trade deadline, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.

The Sixers, meanwhile, could make a big acquisition on their own. League sources say Philadelphia, which fell short on its Harden bet, is still looking for big moves to increase its championship odds. The commercial market has yet to take shape in the coming weeks, so realistic targets are unclear. But one name to monitor is Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, a 34-year-old Philadelphia native in the final season of his contract. A veteran perimeter shooter is the only piece the Sixers really lack, and there aren’t many other players on Lowry’s level that are theoretically available.

Lowry would obviously be an incredible addition to the Sixers, who, to O’Connor’s point, still lack a reliable shot-maker on the perimeter. Simmons can’t shoot. Danny Green is not some kind of creator. Seth Curry is not one of the main ones. Tobias Harris is an expert in all trades but a master in none.

The problem is, the Raptors are arriving lately and could see themselves as one step away from competing for another trip to the Finals. They have won seven of their last 10 and sit just four games behind Philadelphia, and Kyle Lowry is still amazing. He is ranked No. 9 on ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus and, along with Fred VanVleet, remains the lifeblood of a Toronto organization that is not interested in rebuilding.

Outside of Lowry, some names to monitor are Lonzo Ball, Evan Fournier, and George Hill. JJ Redick isn’t a creator, but Philadelphia makes just 10.3 3-pointers per game, ranking 28th in the league. It’s very difficult to win in the playoffs while losing the 3-point battle, and while Redick started out in trouble this season, he is shooting just under 49 percent on 3.5 3-pointers a night in 11 games in February.

As O’Connor pointed out, the trading market remains unclear with the March 25 deadline extended a month away, but we know there are a thousand phone calls as we speak and Morey is on a lot of them. He wasn’t on the job in Philly for more than a week before trading for Danny Green, and two weeks before trading for Seth Curry, addressing Philadelphia’s complete lack of shooting in the blink of an eye. They could still use more besides a playmaker, and if there’s someone who can fill one of those holes, or both, Morey won’t hesitate to pull the trigger.

The Sixers have been atop the Eastern Conference for most of the season, but have slumped a bit lately, losing four of their last six as the Brooklyn Nets have moved closer to half a game out of first place, entering Tuesday . .

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