One week after the Philadelphia 76ers dropped their Game 6 do-or-die matchup against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Sixers have already been linked to trade rumors.
Just a few months after striking a blockbuster deal to land the ten-time All-Star James Harden, Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is rumored to be looking into acquiring another prominent star ahead of the 2022-2023 season.
James Harden doesn't plan to go anywhere for now. According to the star himself, he's excited to get an entire offseason without rehab to prepare the way he typically would before going into a new season. And since he could pick up his player option or even negotiate a new long-term deal with the Sixers, Harden made it clear he planned to be back in Philly next season.
Meanwhile, Joel Embiid likes to act as if he doesn't believe he's untouchable in the eyes of the Sixers' front office, but everybody around the NBA knows the big man isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
So, as the Sixers are reportedly looking into potentially putting a package together for another star, the next two names that pop up as possible trade chips are the veteran forward Tobias Harris and the soon-to-be third-year guard, Tyrese Maxey.
However, it seems the latter is floating more on the untouchable rather than the available side of things in the eyes of the Sixers. According to Liberty Ballers' Paul Hudrick, Maxey is viewed as a "franchise cornerstone" in Philadelphia.
"Maxey's name came up in the past as Daryl Morey and company were hunting stars like James Harden and Damian Lillard. As rumors surface that Morey could again be on the lookout for another star this summer, you can go ahead and skip Maxey's name in your trade machine of choice.
The Sixers view Maxey as a franchise cornerstone and untouchable, a source tells Liberty Ballers. The team was happy with the pick of Maxey at the time, but his growth in just his second season and maniacal work ethic have the team looking at him as a foundational piece."
Before Tyrese Maxey showed substantial improvement in his sophomore season, he was rumored to be available in a package for Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. With Maxey's second season in the bag, the Sixers quickly realized that the young guard was becoming a star himself.
In 74 starts, Maxey averaged 17 points and 4.3 assists while shooting 48-percent from the field. Coming out of college, one of Maxey's biggest question marks was his three-point shot, as he hit on just 29-percent of his attempts. In 2021-2022, Maxey knocked down 42-percent of his threes on a little over four attempts per game.
While Maxey showed some signs of struggle down the stretch of the second-round series against the Miami Heat, his second playoff run was far from a failure. In 12 games, Maxey averaged 40 minutes on the court. During that time, he put up 20 points per game and knocked down 48-percent of his shots and 37-percent of his threes.
The Sixers definitely need to improve their roster if they want to get over the second-round hump next season. There might be a star out there who could boost their chances of doing so right away, but it seems the 76ers will be extremely hesitant to move Maxey as his hard work clearly paid off quickly already.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.
More Sixers News:
Lack of Mental Toughness: Philadelphia 76ers veterans Tobias Harris and Danny Green believed that Philadelphia’s playoff struggles in the second round could be attributed to a lack of mental toughness and maturity on the team. Following the Game 6 loss against the Miami Heat, the two veterans weighed in on the idea that the team wasn’t mentally ready to take the next step. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
Need an Enforcer: Philadelphia 76ers superstar center Joel Embiid believed that a lack of physicality hurt his team in the second-round playoff series against the Miami Heat. After seeing the impact that a player like P.J. Tucker had on the Heat, Embiid publicly encourages the Sixers’ front office to find an enforcer in the offseason. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.