According to multiple reports published Saturday (by Michael Kaskey-Blomain from CBS SportsKeith Pompey from the Philadelphia Inquirerand Dave Hardisty from ClutchFans), the 76ers remain interested in pursuing a trade with the Houston Rockets for veteran security guard Eric Gordon.
News of the 76ers’ interest in Gordon was first reported on concept week at the end of June† Led by former Rockets GM Daryl Morey, the Sixers are clearly looking for veterans from his Houston period, as evidenced by the additions of James Harden, Daniel House Jr. and PJ Tucker. Combine that with Houston’s emphasis on rebuilding, and it’s easy to tie the dots together with a 33-year-old Gordon – offering significant “3&D” value as a three-point shooter and tough defender. However, the devil is in the details.
Current Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone allegedly wants a future first-round draft pick for Gordon who isn’t extremely late in the order, according to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. But because of the NBAs Stepien ruleThe 76ers will not be allowed to trade a first-round pick until 2029 must match salaries to include Gordon in a trade, as the Sixers are well above the NBA salary cap.
It is understandable if Morey is reluctant to part with both players and opt for a role player like Gordon for 2029. After all, Philadelphia’s prospects for that future date are rather murky, given their veteran-laden roster today. They may need that design choice to rebuild themselves.
Of the players who could potentially trade the Sixers for Gordon, the most attractive asset is defensive ace Matisse Thybulle, who has just finished his third NBA season. Still, Thybulle – who, unlike Gordon, isn’t a strong marksman – may not be as suited to the Rockets, who already have a handful of versatile fullbacks in Jae’Sean Tate (who recently signed a new contract), newly drafted rookies Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason, and veteran David Nwaba. Young guard Josh Christopher also showed flashes of defensive potential in his rookie season.
So the most reasonable path seems to be a three-team scenario. In this hypothetical situation, the Sixers could get Gordon if a third team sends a respectable draft asset to Houston in exchange for Thybulle and perhaps other Philadelphia players (for salary adjustment). That future draft asset would give Stone significantly more options than what he would have with Thybulle, whose value would diminish if he struggled to find minutes.
With that in mind, the challenge is whether the Sixers and Rockets can find a third-team facilitator willing to give up that kind of asset for Thybulle. It clearly hasn’t happened yet. But it’s a long off-season, and both Philadelphia and Houston have plenty of incentive to try and come up with something considering Gordon’s age — which seems to be a better fit for a team like the 76ers looking to win in the short term.
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