NBA trade rumors: Nuggets' Will Barton available in a deal?

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Sixers' former trade deadline target available: report originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

With the 2022 NBA Draft just two weeks away, the Sixers' offseason plans are likely in full effect at the team's Camden headquarters.

How will they approach James Harden? What will they do with Matisse Thybulle? And where else might President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey look to upgrade the perennial second round-exiting squad?

One place they need to improve is at wing depth, and scoring depth. The supply of talented two-way wings has exploded over the last half-decade, but the Sixers (save one blessed half-season of Jimmy Butler) have confoundingly struggled to add anyone of value at that position. It's like whiffing on pass-catching tight end in the modern NFL: it can't happen.

RELATED: 7 wings for Sixers to consider in free agency

Luckily for the Sixers, it sounds like one potential trade target who would fit that mold could be available this offseason: Nuggets wing Will Barton.

Here's what the Action Network's Matt Moore is hearing from league sources about Denver's offseason plans:

"Instead of the usual period of trying to gain footing, Denver is expected to hit the offseason running. Both Will Barton and Monte Morris are believed to be available in trade talks from league sources outside Denver, while internally Denver is reciting a plan for aggressive moves to build a true contender around Nikola Jokic with Jamal Murray and MPJ returning for opening night."

Very interesting! The Sixers were reportedly interested in Barton at the 2021 NBA trade deadline so his name is certainly one to pay attention to.

Barton, 31, is entering his 11th season in the NBA and has one year left on a two-year, $30 million deal he signed with Denver. He counts for $14.3M against the cap next season, a relative bargain for a player who has shot 37% from deep over his last three seasons, adds five boards and 3.5 assists, and had a 56.1% effective field goal percentage on catch-and-shoot attempts last year.

The only real drawback might be his defense, which is unpredictable if you go by his year-to-year on/off defensive splits. He's been all over the board during his time in Denver, from a very strong showing in 2014-2015 to pretty ugly numbers in 2020-21. Being an average defender isn't a huge problem, but it's something to remember.

Let's try out this potential trade:

PHI receives: W. Barton

DEN receives: D. Green, M. Thybulle, No. 23 overall

(The Sixers wouldn't be able to trade the draft pick until after they make the selection because of the NBA's Stepien Rule, but they could agree ahead of time on a player to pick for Denver.)

I see the value here for both sides.

For Denver, who landed 15th in defensive rating last season, adding Thybulle's defensive prowess would be a boon. We all know that team can score, and Nikola Jokic can get anyone open looks. Can they stop anyone? With Thybulle, things should improve. Danny Green's money can likely be repurposed, and they get a draft pick as well.

For the Sixers, they trade in a player they're ready to move on from in Thybulle and acquire more offensive depth while also moving off of Danny Green's contract next season. Addition by subtraction in multiple arenas.

Will Morey pull the trigger on something like this? He's probably still star-hunting, but I personally think it'd be a shrewd move - and it shouldn't preclude them from going after other pieces either.