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June 18, 2019

NBA rumors: Sixers 'have an interest' in Bucks' Malcolm Brogdon, report says

If one of Jimmy Butler or Tobias Harris doesn't return, could the Milwaukee wing be a free agency option?

With the NBA Draft just two days out, and one mega-trade already complete, it's officially open season on rumors and rumblings around the league.

The Sixers are busy prepping for the draft, but they also have an eye towards free agency, which allows teams to contact agents and players starting June 30.

If they can't manage to bring both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris back, one name that fans have tossed around lately is Bucks wing Malcolm Brogdon.

According to Jordan Brenner of The Athletic, the idea is apparently more than just fan speculation.

Per Brenner:

"If both players leave, the Sixers would have plenty of money to make a run at the top free agents—Durant, Leonard, Kyrie Irving. But there doesn’t appear to be mutual interest on that front. They could also try to weaken a rival while strengthening their core by pursuing Middleton or Brogdon.

"Says [a Western Conference] exec: 'I have heard that they have an interest in Brogdon. Offer him a big deal and put a little heat on Milwaukee. Play him as a wing. He’s a tough kid. He can defend. He’s resilient. Doesn’t need the ball in his hands. And he has great leadership qualities.'"

That's at least interesting, right? It seems like Harris is going to have a number of suitors, and Butler won't be an easy keep either, though it feels safe to say the Sixers should have an easier time signing Butler than they will with Harris.

Brogdon is an interesting player. He's only played three years in the league, but he's already 26 years old and turns 27 this December, so he's not your run-of-the-mill third-year player who has tons of room to grow. He has yet to play a full 82-game season, though he was close in his rookie year, and he's never had to average 30 minutes per night.

Let's see what our friends at Basketball Reference have to tell us:

In the three years, Brogdon has displayed an ability to score efficiently, and this year set career-highs in field goal percentage (50.5%), three-point percentage (42.6%), and free throw percentage (92.8%), along with his points-per-36 minutes (19.7) and rebounds-per-36 minutes (5.7) numbers.

In a scenario where Butler stays in Philadelphia but Harris leaves for, say, the Nets, Brogdon would fit pretty well into the Sixers' lineup. He can play the role of a shooter from deep, who also makes plays (he averaged more than three assists per game last year) and generally makes an offense better. 

An interesting stat: Brogdon's 121 points-per-100-possessions offensive rating was tied with Giannis Antetokounmpo for the third-best mark on the Bucks last season, and tied for the best from any player averaging at least 24 minutes per game. That's pretty good!

Ultimately, a play for Brogdon won't be the Sixers' first option, or even their second option, but it feels like a pretty solid backup plan if their hand is forced in another direction.

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