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February 06, 2019

Sixers trade for Raptors' Malachi Richardson, second-round pick

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020618_malachi-richardson_usat Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports

New Sixers guard Malachi Richardson (22) is guarded by Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) during a recent game at Scotiabank Arena.

The Sixers agreed to a trade that will net them Malachi Richardson, a 2022 second-round pick, and the rights to international player Emir Preldzic, a team source confirmed to PhillyVoice on Wednesday afternoon.

Philly.com's Keith Pompey was the first to report the news.

On the surface, this is not all that big of a transaction. Richardson's salary fits snugly into the traded player exception created by the Jimmy Butler trade, and whether he sticks in Philadelphia is sort of up for debate at this point. Richardson is sort of a prospect in name only, in that he has some pedigree as a former first-round pick but hasn't produced much past the college level.

During his lone year at Syracuse, Richardson did show some promise as a shooter, knocking down almost 39 percent of his attempts from the college line on over five attempts per game. His efficiency elsewhere was ghastly, with Richardson finishing his career in Orange shooting 36.9 percent from the field, thanks in large part to terrible efficiency on two-point jumpers. It hasn't been any better at the NBA level, with Richardson shooting worse from the three-point line (30.1 percent) and the field (35.8 percent) during limited appearances over the last three seasons.

That has sort of been the story of his career to date. Richardson has the look and the frame of an NBA guy, standing 6'6" with a seven-foot wingspan and good athleticism, but his decisionmaking and feel for the game have been in question dating back to Syracuse. He had a propensity for ball-stopping and settling for bad, contested jumpers, and those habits haven't helped him in a league where sharing the ball is more important than ever. His G-League numbers are a bit better (39.3 percent from deep, 41.3 percent from the field in 12 games this season), but as always should be taken with a grain of salt.

Richardson's fourth-year option was already declined by the Raptors last fall, so the Sixers could move on from him in short order if new opportunities present themselves over the next 24 hours. A team official insisted he'll get a shot (and wear No. 22 if he does), but other conversations with team sources left the door open, with the implication being that they won't hesitate to move on depending on what their deadline and buyout moves can produce.

In other words — I wouldn't go out and purchase a No. 22 shirsey over the next week, just to be safe.

The second-round pick may end up being the headliner here. The Sixers have often sold picks under the ownership of Joshua Harris, and that was a potential warning sign for a team that now wants you to believe they'll pay into the luxury tax to compete for titles. Buying a pick from the Raptors is a change of pace, and a good way to start restocking the cupboard after Elton Brand unloaded much of it in the deal for Tobias Harris.

The class of 2022 figures to be a good one. The NBA sent out a memo last year telling teams the one-and-done rule would be eliminated in 2022 at the earliest, and Toronto's pick gives them another chip in a class that could be filled with both one-and-done guys and high-school entrants alike.

I wouldn't lose any sleep about Emir Preldzic. The 31-year-old was drafted way back in 2009, and as the good folks at Basketball-Reference pointed out, the pick he was selected with goes back so long ago that the Seattle Supersonics were still part of the league.

Expect more to come between now and the deadline on Thursday.


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