MILWAUKEE — A little past 12:30 a.m. Thursday, the 76ers acquired two players who will make them better — but not enough to suddenly be a favorite again to reach the NBA Finals.
However, the acquisitions should help solve some of their outside shooting woes.
The Sixers basically took Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III from the Golden State Warriors, acquiring the two players for three second-round picks. The two players were not with the Sixers for Thursday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. They could join the team as early as Friday when Philly entertains the Memphis Grizzlies at the Wells Fargo Center.
Their additions were minor tweaks compared to seasons past.
“I think in those days, you had to do it,” coach Brett Brown said of trading core players. "I think that the group that we have now is more than capable, and I look forward to taking the group that we have and getting out of this losing slump, trying to solve our road problems.
“I think that you’re more apt and able to do that with the group that we have rather than thinking that there is a sort of magic bullet out there that is going to come and fix things.”
To create roster spots, the Sixers parted ways with Trey Burke and James Ennis III. Philly sent Ennis to the Orlando Magic in exchange for the Los Angeles Lakers’ second-round pick in June’s NBA draft. The Sixers waived Burke, who along with Jonah Bolden and Kyle O’Quinn did not make the trip to Wisconsin for the game. O’Quinn missed the trip for personal reasons.
Burke, a seldom-used third-string point guard, would have seen even less playing time with the addition of Burks. Ennis wasn’t going to play much with the new arrivals and the emergence of Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, and Furkan Kormaz. Plus, he had a player option for next season. Given that he could opt in, trading him frees up that salary for other opportunities.
The Sixers are expected to make another roster move that could affect the fate of Bolden or O’Quinn with the team in the near future. They will need a roster spot to convert Norvel Pelle’s two-way contract to a 15-man roster deal. Pelle, a rim-protecting center, is expected to provide a solid defensive presence.
But in Burks and Robinson, the Sixers acquired much-needed shooting and scoring off the bench. That has been Philly’s Achilles’ heel, especially on the road, where they were 9-18 heading into Thursday’s game.
To acquire the two, the Sixers sent Golden State the Dallas Mavericks’ second-rounder in June’s draft. They also gave up the Denver Nuggets’ 2021 second-round pick and the Toronto Raptors’ 2022 second-rounder.
This will mark Robinson’s second stint in Philly. The Sixers claimed him off waivers in March 2015, two days after he was waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He played in 10 games with the Sixers, averaging 10.4 points. Robinson signed a free-agent deal with the Indiana Pacers after that season.
He has been having a career season as the Warriors’ starting small forward this year. Robinson, 26, is averaging career highs in points (12.9), rebounds (4.7), assists (1.8), steals (0.9), field-goal percentage (. 481), and minutes per game (31.6). He also is shooting 40.0% on three-pointers in 48 games, all starts.
His father, Glen Robinson II, played for the Sixers during the 2003-04 season.
Burks is also having the best season of his career. The reserve shooting guard is averaging career highs in points (16.1), assists (3.1), and steals (1.0). Like Robinson, the 28-year-old is a solid three-point shooter, making 40.6% of his shots this season. The ninth-year veteran has shot 42.0% in 477 career games.
Burks and Sixers backup point guard Raul Neto were teammates with the Utah Jazz.
“He’s obviously a great player,” Neto said. “A great, talented player. He can score anyways, and he plays hard. I think he’s going to be good for us.”
Burks and Robinson will help the Sixers space the floor on offense.