In case you haven’t, the Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly interested in trading Danny Green and the 23rd overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft for a veteran performer who can immediately help the team this fall, at least according to The Ringers’ Kevin O ‘Connor.
This, understandably, has generated a good bit of speculation around our fair city, with very intriguing names like Marcus Morris, Alec Burks and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope potentially on the table.
Would adding a fifth starter using the Sixers’ last first round pick until 2024 and DG’s salary make the team better? You bet, but the ceiling of such a deal appears to be a steady fifth starter, not an impactful, high-upside performer perfectly suited to play alongside Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and James Harden.
No, for the Philadelphia 76ers to really add a player who can make an impact, they’d probably need to cash out their top non-untouchable asset, Matisse Thybulle, to really punch up a weight class with a KCP-level performer instead targeted in free agency. Of the options theoretically on the table, the best of the best, at least in my humble opinion, is Cam Johnson, the 6-foot-8, 3-and-D combo forward who might just be available from Phoenix for the right price .
The Philadelphia 76ers need to pursue multiple avenues to land Cam Johnson.
According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the Chicago Bulls are looking to move the 18th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and Coby White for better-fitting assets.
Why, you may ask, is this relevant to this, a Philadelphia sports blog? Well, because the Bulls reportedly also have eyes for Philadelphia 76ers wing Matisse Thybulle, who is also potentially available in the right deal.
Does a swap of White and 18 for Thybulle and 23 make sense? On paper, yes, that seems like the correct value exchanged, but realistically, that deal doesn’t make much sense for the Sixers, as White is redundant with many of the team’s other current players. But as part of a three-team deal, where White and 18 may have more value than Thybulle and 23, it could be just enough firepower to swing a deal to the Phoenix Suns for Cam Johnson.
I mean think about it; Johnson and Mikal Bridges are relatively redundant players. With the latter slated to earn a very nice payday on his next contract and the Suns notoriously unwilling to pay the tax, swapping out a player like Johnson for another draft pick, and a similarly intriguing-though-cheaper player could make a good bit of sense, especially with Jae Crowder potentially available to return on a sub-10 figures per season cap hit.
Factor in the glaring lack of quality point guard play behind Chris Paul that was thoroughly exposed during the playoffs and adding a third guard like White at the expense of Johnson may be viewed as a net positive for the franchise, especially if it comes with a draft pick just outside of the lottery.
If that’s the case, Daryl Morey should run to the phone and make a deal, as Johnson is the perfect fifth starter for the Sixers this fall.
Standing 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, Johnson is an ideal 3-and-D combo forward built for the modern-day NBA. He’s a decent enough wing rebounder who logged 93 percent of his snaps from the power forward position, a solid defender who ranked 15th among qualifying players in Defensive Raptor according to FiveThirtyEight, and hit 42.5 percent of his 3 point shots in the 2021-22 regular season, good for the fourth-highest mark of any player in the NBA.
Whether played at the three next to Tobias Harris or deployed at his natural four spot following another big-time trade potentially being pursued according to Keith Pompey, Johnson is the sort of big, two-way wing the Sixers have been looking to acquire for seemingly years now; a switchblade front court performer who can do a little bit of everything and glue together the disparate parts of the Sixers’ roster.
If the Suns feel they have enough forward depth to expose a player like Johnson to the market in order to address their backcourt depth, Johnson is likely the player in their core unit who has the perfect mix of value and expandability.
Could the Philadelphia 76ers address their front court in the draft? You bet; there are a number of quality wings from EJ Liddell to Jalen Williams who can perfectly fit that bill in the 23 range and with no first round pick until 2024, adding a young, cheap option would be wise. The Sixers could also address that role in free agency, with a player like Nicolas Batum a very interesting option indeed. But the perfect player to fill the role is Cam Johnson, the 26-year-old Pennsylvania native who averaged 12.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in a sixth man role for the Phoenix Suns last season.