Blockbuster trades are fun, but they rarely take place in the NBA.
Instead, smaller deals have the potential to shape a championship team or help to steer a franchise in the right direction. They’re moves that don’t involve superstars, but rather quality role players or fringe All-Stars who can still make big impacts.
Based on potential swaps that didn’t happen before the 2020 trade deadline, combined with new developments in the months since, the following five realistic deals would help out both sides this offseason.
Sixers, Kings Swap Al Horford and Harrison Barnes
Sacramento Receives: C Al Horford, 2021 second-round pick
The Horford experiment in Philly clearly isn’t working, and the Sixers would greatly benefit from instead having a wing who can shoot in their starting five.
Horford’s contract won’t be easy to offload, however, with three years and $81 million remaining after this season. The Sixers will likely have to take back some bad money, as well.
That’s where Barnes makes sense. The 27-year-old forward will have three years and $60.9 million left on his contract, a lower number than Horford but still a higher deal than his production (14.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 0.6 steals in 34.9 minutes per game) would warrant.
There was “mutual interest” between Horford and the Kings in free agency last summer, with Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reporting that the team planned to make the veteran center a “massive offer.” Horford would no longer have to play power forward in Sacramento and would bring 120 games of playoff experience to the postseason-hungry Kings.
For Philly, Barnes would be a much better fit than Horford.
The former NBA champion has shot 40 percent from three over the past two years and could take turns with Tobias Harris playing both forward positions. Philly’s spacing would greatly improve, and it would be getting a younger, cheaper player for its starting lineup.