The Philadelphia 76ers have some significant work to do this summer. After losing in the second round of the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, the Sixers have to figure out what it takes to get over that second-round hump, finally.
One thing the Sixers don't lack is star power. Joel Embiid was named an MVP finalist for the second season in a row. While James Harden hasn't been "Houston Harden," he was still an All-Star in 2021-2022 for his work with the Brooklyn Nets during the first half of the season.
Beyond the All-Stars, the Sixers have a decent offensive weapon, who improved on defense in Tobias Harris, and they have a true rising star in the second-year guard Tyrese Maxey.
On paper, Philly's starting lineup is decent. On the court, they simply weren't good enough. Is there a quick fix? One can't say for sure, but Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes suggests the Sixers should try to find out by acquiring Oklahoma City Thunder standout Lu Dort.
A Look at the Suggestion
Hughes believes an offer of Matisse Thybulle and a 2022 first-round pick (if the Brooklyn Nets defer) could be enough for the Oklahoma City Thunder to be interested in striking or countering.
"Is that enough to keep the Thunder from laughing and hanging up? Maybe not, but Dort is precisely the kind of stout defender the Sixers need, and he shot a just-barely-respectable 33.2 percent on 7.7 long-range tries per game last year.
"Both Thybulle and Dort are in the last year of their deals, but the former will be a restricted free agent next summer, giving OKC more control than it would have with Dort, who's unrestricted, in 2023."
The Sixers need wings badly. While getting rid of Thybulle would cause the Sixers to take another significant hit in the perimeter defense department, the drop-off to Dort on that side of the ball isn't too far. Plus, Dort brings much more value on offense as Thybulle shot just 31-percent from three on two attempts per game last season.
We all know OKC loves draft picks and young prospects with a high ceiling. But Thybulle's lack of offensive growth proved to be a problem down the stretch of the Sixers' season. While his defense remains valuable, he's been a one-sided player now, three years into his career.
The chances of the Thunder agreeing to that deal are slim to none. But if Dort is on the table for a possible trade to Philadelphia, it should be something the 76ers should look into.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.
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