MIAMI — Trey Burke was nowhere to be found inside AmericanAirlines Arena during the media availability at the 76ers’ shootaround Monday.
The whereabouts of an out-of-the-rotation guard aren’t usually a big deal. But this week is different, with the NBA trade deadline coming at 3 p.m. Thursday. This week, an absence from a team function or practice could be an indication that a player has been traded.
That wasn’t the case with Burke.
“He’s got an upper respiratory illness,” coach Brett Brown said.
Burke was later available to play in Monday night’s game against the Miami Heat at
But there’s no denying that the Sixers (31-20) are looking to add shooting/perimeter help via trade or in the buyout market.
If Philly does make a move, it could be tough to duplicate the blockbuster trades for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris from a season ago. They’re better situated to acquire a low-profile rotation specialist.
A lot of that has to do with the Sixers’ lack of assets and also their salary construction. They don’t have enough players with middle-ground NBA salaries to make a trade work.
But the Sixers might have to make a move in what was billed as a Finals-appearance-or-bust season. Right now, the team isn’t good enough to reach the NBA Finals.
Rookie guard Matisse Thybulle is the Sixers’ best trade asset. There are reports that the Minnesota Timberwolves would want him and a first-round pick in any package for swingman Robert Covington, who’s expected to be moved.
It’s hard to imagine that, for the second straight season, the Sixers would trade a standout rookie who fills a major need. Last year, they included sharpshooter Landry Shamet in the package to acquire Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers.
But the trade rumors will continue to swirl as the Sixers talk to teams leading up to the deadline.
Brown said his job is to minimize the distractions. After Monday night’s game against the Heat, the Sixers will have another tough game at Milwaukee on Thursday. That matchup is scheduled for 8 p.m., five hours after the trade deadline.
“You just try to coach with blinkers on,” Brown said. “You are aware, but you just have to coach what you have. And you have to let the front office do what a front office does, and somewhere in the middle, they are my players. You coach them. There’s a human side. That’s all true.”
Brown won’t overreact or make the trade deadline bigger than it needs to be, he said.
He thought back to his first season with the Sixers, 2013-14, when the team was openly shopping Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner, and Thaddeus Young. Turner and Hawes were moved at the trade deadline, and Young was traded after the season.