NBA Free Agency: Could Al Jefferson Be Headed to Philadelphia?

When the Philadelphia 76ers traded for small forward Dorell Wright, one thing became clear: Andre Iguodala will not be in the City of Brotherly Love for the 2012-2013 NBA season.

The acquisition of Wright for an unnamed European player creates a logjam at the small forward position; rookie Maurice Harkless and Wright both play the 3 as their primary position while Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young see time at the position as well. If you add in Iguodala, who requires 32-37 minutes per game, there simply are not enough minutes in a game to make the current arrangement work.

Jefferson would be a nice addition to Philly’s front court.

It makes sense to move him now anyway. First, the Sixers drafted their small forward of the future, Moe Harkless, at No. 15 in the 2012 NBA Draft. Secondly, his trade value is at its highest and so the front office would be foolish to miss such a golden opportunity to get another star back in return.

As it is with every player who is rumored to be involved in trade talks, several teams and names have been thrown out as possible partners for GM Rod Thorn and Philadelphia. From Rudy Gay, who would just replace Iggy at SF and re-create the logjam, to Pau Gasol, who the Lakers will most likely be unwilling to part with as they make another title run, I don’t see much sense in a lot of the rumors.

One name, however, that does stick out to me is Al Jefferson of the Utah Jazz via a sign-and-trade deal.

The trade makes sense on a couple of levels. First, the Jazz have a decent amount of bigs that could help them compete in the future, including Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap. They can deal Jefferson for Iguodala and not miss a beat as the frontcourt trio of Iguodala, Favors, and Millsap develops into one of the more formidable units in all of basketball.

If the Jazz are worried about depth at the center position, then the Sixers have the pieces to sweeten the deal. They have a number of big men they’d be willing to trade, including Spencer Hawes and former first-round pick Nikola Vucevic.

The second main reason is that the Jazz need a swingman; like I said, the addition of Iguodala would bolster their team to the point of contention in their division with the Thunder for a couple of years to come. With C.J. Miles hitting the free agent market, their only player who could even pass for a SF on the roster is Enes Kanter.

And then, of course, there is Philadelphia’s need for an established big man. They set up the framework to develop a nice young core by drafting Arnett Moultrie and Harkless to pair with Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday, but all four of those guys can use one or two years of development.

Bringing in Wright to mentor Harkless and Nick Young to help share minutes with Turner for one year were both smart moves, and landing Jefferson to help develop Moultrie and Lavoy Allen would be a nice idea as well. And who knows? If the young guys develop more quickly than expected, this team could be contending for a championship in one or two years; having a double-double machine like Jefferson to anchor the frontcourt would be nice.

The Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers have needs and stars they’d be willing to move; it only makes sense that they’d be compatible in a trade this offseason.

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Categories: 76ers, Beat Writing, Editorial, Uncategorized

Author:Manav Khandelwal

I am the founder of Khandyman Sports, and follow all Philadelphia pro sports teams religiously. I also write for the Hoop76, covering the Sixers for ESPN, and am a credentialed Flyers reporter for Main Line Media News.

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