This is the 31st edition of the weekly 76ers mailbag.
Each week, Inquirer.com followers may submit questions to be answered.
Missed out on the party this week? No worries. Submit question(s) for next time by following me on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers and tweeting your inquiry with the hashtag #PompeysMailbagFlow.
Question: Who is most likely to get traded? — @MikeStoeverJr
A: What’s up, Mike? Thanks for the question. I see that you are getting straight to the point in regards to your question. I respect that. Right now, I would think that Doc Rivers would like to at least see how the current pieces fit together before trying to make moves. You look at the Los Angeles Lakers, they have a towering team and are about to win the NBA title. The Toronto Raptors did the same last season. But if things don’t work, I’m going to say Al Horford, assuming the Sixers can get a team to take on his contract. He has three years and $81 million remaining, with $69 million guaranteed, on the deal he signed last summer. Trading the center/power forward for a sharpshooting perimeter player would be the team’s best bet. But at 34, Horford could be tough to move.
The Sixers could pursue a deal with the Sacramento Kings for the disgruntled Buddy Hield. The Kings' sharpshooting guard has cut off communications with Sacramento coach Luke Walton and wants to be traded. He’s also indicated several times on social media that the Sixers are a preferred destination. That’s a deal that could benefit both teams.
Horford is set to make $27.5 million next season, while Hield is in line to receive and estimated $24.9 million. So the teams can find a way to make that trade work.
In Horford, the Kings would get a standout center to help end the squad’s 14-season playoff drought. He would be a leader by example for the Kings' young core. Meanwhile, Hield, a 41.1% career three-pointer shooter, could provide the consistent sharpshooting the Sixers lost by not re-signing JJ Redick in free agency last summer.
I think that trade would be win-win for both players and teams.
Again, the Sixers could try to run things back. However, I don’t think Hield will be available if they wait until after the start of the season. So if they had to make a move now, it would be Horford in my opinion.
Q: Any word on assistant coaches being hired by Doc Rivers? — @MarcTriplett
A: Hello, sir. I hope you and your family are doing well.
As you know, the team missed out on hiring former New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry. He recently accepted the associate head coach position with the Sacramento Kings.
But the thought is that Baltimore native Sam Cassell, Brendan O’Connor and possibly Armond Hill will follow Rivers from the Clippers.
Cassell is also a candidate for the Houston Rockets head coaching job. People expect him join the Sixers staff if he doesn’t get a head-coaching job. Philly would be close to his hometown, and Cassell has been a Clippers assistant under Rivers since Sept. 29, 2014.
O’Connor has been on Rivers' coaching staff throughout his seven-year tenure in Los Angeles. The New Hampshire native had more than 10 years of NBA coaching and scouting experience before joining Rivers staff.
Armond Hill is another possible assistant coach. Hill, a former Princeton standout, has been one of Rivers' assistant coaches since his first season with the Celtics in 2004-05.
Q: What’s the ceiling of the roster as it’s currently constructed under Doc? What kind of significant differences in playstyle do you anticipate with him as head coach? — @flenniken_josh
A: What’s up, Josh? I hope you are well. I’ve put a lot of thought into the first question. And to be honest with you that’s an extremely tough one to answer. Rivers is one of the NBA’s best coaches. However, this roster, as it is currently constructed, doesn’t fit and several key players have flaws (Even though I think Rivers would like to judge that for himself.). I keep asking myself, does he make them instantly better than the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat next season, especially if the Raptors bring everyone back? I can’t say that at this point. I will say that he will make them better. But it’s going to be hard for them from sixth in the Eastern Conference to a top two seed or a conference finalist with the current roster.
In regards to your second question, I think we will see more pick-and-rolls. We will also see him relying more on Tobias Harris.
Q: There is a lot of distrust with this organization by fans. This goes from previous draft and free agent signings. How can fans have confidence in the front office moving forward? — @JaredSimsMedia
A: What’s up, Jared? Great question. The Sixers front office must be transparent, add proven basketball minds and ownership has to have less influence on the decision-making for the fans to regain confidence. It’s that simple. As a I wrote Sunday, the hiring of Rivers brings much-needed credibility back to the franchise. It would also help if they brought in a well respected high-ranking basketball mind. But the front office has to be more transparent, let basketball people make decisions and get less input from ownership.