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Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Trevor Ariza, Grayson Allen, Damyean Dotson, Emmanuel Mudiay
New York Knicks Receive: Troy Daniels, Markelle Fultz, Furkan Korkmaz, Mike Muscala, 2019 second-round pick (via Utah)
Phoenix Suns Receive: Ricky Rubio
Utah Jazz Receive: Tim Hardaway Jr., Justin Patton
Trevor Ariza is someone the Sixers could target on the buyout market, because let’s face it, he’s not finishing the season in Phoenix. But they’re not guaranteed to get him in that scenario, and having his non-Bird rights would mean a helluva lot more when he’s working off a $15 million salary.
Emmanuel Mudiay is starting to do things for the Knicks. His three-point clip still dwells below the league average, but he’s steadier around the rim and converting an absurd 57.1 percent of his looks from floater range. Damyean Dotson has provided intermittent scoring and defensive punches, and his $1.6 million salary for next season is non-guaranteed.
Grayson Allen would function as the first-round pick the Sixers aren’t supposed to get—and as an attractive pump-and-dump spotter on the wing if his triples start finding nylon. Philly yet again would preserve access to near max money in free agency but also get a few months to monitor the fits of Ariza, Dotson and Mudiay (restricted) prior to July.
New York would take the biggest risk of any team. Fultz’s redemption story isn’t a given. If he doesn’t pan out, the Knicks would have dealt Dotson, Mudiay and Tim Hardaway Jr. at their market peaks for extra cap space. And, hey: That’s fine.
Replacing Hardaway with Fultz would set up New York for more than $40 million in room after it renounced all incumbent free agents and waived Lance Thompson ($1 million guaranteed). That number would balloon past $50 million if Courtney Lee plays his way into trade rumors upon his return from a neck injury.
Striking out in free agency while Fultz goes belly up wouldn’t invalidate the Knicks’ leap of faith. Reinvesting in Mudiay after a career year would be more dangerous. They would get over Hardaway’s departure no matter what. He’ll be a free agent again before they contend if they don’t land a superstar anyway.
Phoenix doesn’t have anything to second-guess. Jettisoning Ariza and Troy Daniels would save $3.2 million—more than the former would give back in a prospective buyout. At 28, Ricky Rubio isn’t the ideal point guard for a rebuilding outfit, but the Suns flat-out need a floor general. Gauging his fit next to Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton would be a worthwhile venture when they’re not obligated to keep him beyond this year.
Any Utah Jazz fans uncomfortable with turning Allen, Rubio and a second-rounder into the final two years and $37.1 million on Hardaway’s deal should direct their concerns toward Bleacher Report’s Andrew Bailey. He both bleeds purple and green and approved this structure.
Utah needs another from-scratch scorer to pair with Donovan Mitchell, and Hardaway is shooting 41.5 percent on a steady diet of pull-up three-pointers. Yes, he would derail their proximity to max cap space. But no star free agent is signing in Utah with the Jazz dancing around the lottery. To get Hardaway without giving up Alec Burks, one of their few above-average shooters, would be a pretty big win.