Philadelphia 76ers: Biggest Issues the Team Must Address at the Trade Deadline

Brandon K. SmithContributor IIIJanuary 29, 2013

Dec 12, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum (33) prior to the game against the Chicago Bulls at the Wells Fargo Center. The Bulls defeated the Sixers 96-89. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Those hoping the Sixers will make a big move at this year's trade deadline will likely find themselves disappointed.  

With Andrew Bynum eyeing a tentative return around the All-Star break the team will likely continue to move forward with their roster as is in an attempt to find out exactly what they have with this group.  However, this does not necessarily mean there are no issues the team should look into addressing.

The most pressing decision Philadelphia needs to make as an organization is how committed they are to Bynum, a subject that has a great deal to do with his own interest in the Sixers, given his impending free agency.  Some Philly fans have not hesitated this season to cry for him to be dealt because of skepticism over the health of his knees and the fear that he could leave in the summer for greener pastures. This would leave the team empty-handed after parting ways with its best player and fan favorite Andre Igoudala to land the center this past summer.  

The problem with dealing Bynum lies in his uncertain value as a player. Because of his aforementioned health concerns on top of his uncertain future contract-wise, these two things are easily enough to scare off teams from making any sort of move to acquire Bynum now, let alone give up valuable roster pieces to do so.  This means the Sixers would take a risk in dealing Bynum in case he: A) did actually want to resign with Philadelphia and/or B) the players received in such a trade are nowhere near the level of talent either Iggy or Bynum are.  The Sixers will have to stick it out with him for the remainder of the season and make a decision on his future with the team after the season.

The team has made it clear they are going to stick with Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday (their two most valuable trade assets) for the foreseeable future, as Turner has seen his minutes continue to increase and Holiday was selected to his first all-star game this season.

The Sixers would be foolish not to at least look into some options around the trade deadline, though it's not expected they will.  For instance, they could look into swapping Nick Young, Jason Richardson, or Dorrell Wright for a bench player who gets to the charity stripe more, as Philadelphia currently ranks last in free throws made and second to last in free throws attempted throughout the entire league per Basketball Reference and Philly is loaded at the wing positions right now.  A good fit here may be combo guard Ramon Sessions of the Charlotte Bobcats, who has a nose for getting to the free throw line and has a manageable salary.  Sessions could also provide the same sort of microwave offense Young gives off the bench (albeit without Swaggy P's three point shooting chops) without the same inconsistency Young frequently exhibits.  

Furthermore, Sessions would shore up the questions the Sixers have had in the back court when Jrue Holiday is not in the game.  It is not uncommon to see Evan Turner bring the ball up in these scenarios but he does not possess the ball handling skills to do this for extended periods of time reliably, in spite of his success as a point forward at Ohio State.  If both Turner and Holiday are not in the game, a revolving door between Royal Ivey, Maalik Wayns, and now apparently Shelvin Mack has been established to run the point, a group that would be dramatically improved with the addition of a player like Sessions.

Looking into acquiring another big man for the end of their bench may prove fruitful as well since the injury status of Bynum is seemingly always up in the air, though their rotation in that department should improve with Spencer Hawes coming off the pine upon Bynum's return.