The third-year small forward is putting up career-best numbers, but his lack of consistency has driven people to wonder about his future.
In particular, his future with the Sixers organization.
Making a trade right near the deadline requires a lot of guts. The majority of those deadline deals involve big-name players, so pulling the trigger on a deal like that is certainly risky.
It might also be exactly what Philadelphia needs right now.
Let's take a look at the best trade destinations and packages for Evan Turner.
Evan Turner and Cash to the New Orleans Hornets for Robin Lopez and Austin Rivers
If this trade seems strangely random, yet oddly familiar, then it's probably because it is.
Another option outside of the Jazz big men that has not been brought up yet has been swapping Turner and some cash for New Orleans center Robin Lopez and rookie guard Austin Rivers. Rivers was a lottery pick last year but has really struggled to establish himself so far, and the unexpected play of Greivis Vasquez has made Doc's son expendable.
Philadelphia could take him and put him back to his more natural position, shooting guard, and hopefully mature him into a reliable deep threat coming off of the bench. The only problem with Rivers is that, much like Turner, he works best with the ball in his hands. It's become clear, though, that for Rivers to get more of a run in this league, he needs to develop a spot up shooting game. The addition of Lopez would provide some nice depth and size off of the bench.
Did you get all of that?
The idea of Rivers coming off the bench and playing at his more natural position of shooting guard is an intriguing one. With Nick Young now in the starting lineup, Rivers could be a valuable scoring option on the Sixers second unit.
Lopez isn't going to be star, but he's proven that he isn't just a tall player with hair that looks like a mop. His rebounding could always be of use, and he is getting better at turning over his left shoulder when inside the paint.
I personally really like the risk/reward aspect of this trade because I believe that Rivers could eventually be a consistent 15-point scorer. It would take time for Philadelphia to see results out of this one, though, and I'm not sure that the Sixers are willing to be patient.
Philadelphia Trade Grade: C
This trade makes sense in all but two ways for the Sixers.
They haven't had a productive big man all season. Jefferson is averaging 17.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in only 32.9 minutes per game. Philly has had one clear weakness all year and it has to do with their frontcourt.
Jefferson uses his deceptively long arms to help him in all facets of his game. He's able to dunk the ball from longer distances, he rebounds exceptionally well outside of his space and he is able to block and contest shots from all around the paint.
Now, here's where things get tricky.
The most present issue is that Jefferson's contract is worth $15 million whereas Turner's is only worth $5.3 million. That leaves about $10 million for the Sixers to to make up and that always makes things hard. That's also the only reason that Spencer Hawes and his $6.5 million contract are thrown into the trade. The other difficult part about Jefferson's contract is that this is his last year on his current deal. Who knows how likely he is to re-sign with the Sixers at the end of the season?
And how can we forget that Philadelphia has another big man waiting on the sidelines. Andrew Bynum has yet to make a return, but having somebody in his spot when he's ready to come back can't feel good. On top of that, having Bynum and Jefferson on the last year of their deals would make for an interesting offseason.
Don't expect this deal to go down, but don't be completely taken off guard if it does take place.
Philadelphia Trade Grade: B-
I know I know, this whole Josh Smith to the Sixers thing is getting old and won't ever happen. Still though, wouldn't it benefit Philly in multiple ways? In fact, Philadelphia would become a significantly better team on the defensive end of the floor with the addition of Smith.
Athleticism and energy can never be overlooked in the NBA. They don't correlate to a good basketball player, but it does tend to lead toward good production.
Especially on the defensive end of the floor.
This is an incredibly frustrating deal because Philly hasn't shown much interest in making it happen. Try looking it up and you really aren't going to find anything too promising.
The fact still remains, though, Smith would significantly help the Sixers on the defensive end of the floor and that could be crucial toward getting into the postseason and for the future.
Philadelphia Trade Grade: A-
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