Photo via MyAJC.com

Photo via MyAJC.com

Sixers Acquire Mike Muscala

| A three team trade hints at the team’s final 2018 roster |

Another day, another trade in the NBA. The Oklahoma City Thunder finally jettisoned Carmelo Anthony on Thursday afternoon. The Atlanta Hawks bought out his salary, and to make the money work, they got Philadelphia involved.

So the Sixers give up TLC and Anderson, while receiving center Mike Muscala in return. He’s a five year veteran who can space the floor (37% from 3 for his career, not awful for a center), which is something the team needs after being spurned by Nemanja Bjelica earlier this week. He has one more year left on his contract at $5 million.

As for the players going the other way, both seemed like cuts going into the season. What few minutes remained for TLC and Anderson will be taken up by Fultz and Wilson Chandler, or even Zhaire Smith or Landry Shamet if the team really thinks they’re ready.

Beyond their place in the rotation, it doesn’t seem like either will live up to their potential, at least in Philadelphia. TLC never improved in a significant way since his rookie season. Anderson improved as a shooter last season and seemed like a strong presence in the locker room. But he struggled with injuries and while his physicality is a plus on defense, his body struggled to stay healthy.

After Kawhi Leonard was finally traded earlier this week to Toronto, a relatively disappointing is now behind Philadelphia. With Summer League now over, this trade clears up much of what the final roster will look like. They have 15 players under contract right now, and still have a mid level exception spot worth $4.9 million if they can create another open roster spot.

Starters

Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Joel Embiid

It’s pretty safe to assume these five will start the season together. They were one of the most efficient lineups in all of basketball last year. Don’t fix what ain’t broken.

Reserves

TJ McConnell, Markelle Fultz, Wilson Chandler, Amir Johnson, Mike Muscala

These five will probably do the heavy lifting. Fultz could find his way into the starting lineup if he lives up to the hype, but I think the team will try to keep initial expectations low. On the bright side, he can form a potentially great defensive back court with McConnell. Chandler gives the team more versatility defending wings, something they badly needed last season.

I’m not sure how much Johnson and Muscala will play together. Johnson did a fine job last season, despite being somewhat undersized as a center. But his offense is almost non existent beyond hustle points. Muscala can shoot from the outside and hopefully draw defenders away, creating lanes for other players. You could reasonably expect the Sixers to split the minutes as “when we need defense we go to Amir, and when we need scoring, we go to Mike.”

Furkan Korkmaz, Zhaire Smith, Landry Shamet, Jerryd Bayless, Jonah Bolden*, Jerryd Bayless**

Korkmaz made a name for himself at the Las Vegas Summer League. He had a 40 point outburst that showed his smooth shooting stroke. He also did a fair amount of ball handling. It’s certainly not a strength for him right now, but he looks comfortable doing so. The Sixers want to see what he can do this year

Smith and Shamet are pretty raw prospects, so they won’t see too many minutes unless they exceed expectations or fill in for an injury.

*Jonah Bolden signed a four year, $7 million contract on Friday afternoon. He’ll officially be on the roster this season, and presumably take over Richaun Holmes’ role as a back up big man. Holmes was traded to the Phoenix Suns on Friday as well.

**Bayless is still on the team,. but the team is reportedly working on moving him, possibly for Cleveland’s Kyle Korver.