5 players Sixers could acquire in Harden deal to stay competitive

James Harden, Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
James Harden, Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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Tyler Herro (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Tyler Herro (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

No. 4 player 76ers could acquire in Harden trade: Tyler Herro

Tyler Herro’s name has seen a lot of buzz lately due to the Damian Lillard rumors. If the Heat strike out on Lillard, Harden feels like a logical — if mildly far-fetched — pivot. Or, if both Lillard and Harden are moved in the same multi-team mega deal, Herro could find his way to the City of Brotherly Love.

A lot of trepidation with Herro starts with his contract: he’s set to make $120 million over the next four years. While he’s theoretically entering the prime of his career, that’s a lot for a player with pretty severe defensive limitations. Herro has solid positional size at 6-foot-5, but he’s string-bean skinny with a negative wingspan, so his ability to handle difficult matchups is inherently hamstrung.

That said, the Sixers would find immediate value in Herro’s offensive repertoire. Critics will derisively refer to him as a “score-first” guard, but Herro is far more dynamic than your average shot-chucker. He’s comfortable with or without the ball, frequently relocating to open space or cutting backdoor for finishes at the rim.

Without Harden, a lot of Philadelphia’s offense will run through Joel Embiid at the elbow. While he’s no Nikola Jokic, Embiid has become a more willing passer in recent years. He has the ability to find Herro on cuts or curling off screens. Meanwhile, two-man actions with Herro and Embiid would give defenses headaches — especially with another elite volume shooter like Tyrese Maxey spaced on the opposite wing.

Herro doesn’t address the Sixers’ need for passing, but he’s not incapable of probing the middle of the floor and making the simple read. He’s comfortable running pick-and-rolls and he could tap into unexplored upside as a primary ball-handler with Philadelphia.