With his contract being up at the end of the season and his playing time down to start the season, it made sense for T.J. McConnell’s name to come up in trade rumors.
With the Markelle Fultz saga reaching soap opera levels and the team not having any other options as a backup point guard, a report that “the Sixers stopped listening to trade overtures for McConnell” makes sense as well.
The team decided to close the door on a McConnell deal because they knew they were going to need the fourth-year guard, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
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Brett Brown used McConnell last season in the playoffs as a spark when Robert Covington struggled. Brown said he was looking for a similar effect when he went to McConnell in the second half last Monday in a win over the Suns.
The following day after the Phoenix game, Fultz’s agent said that his client would be seeing a shoulder specialist and not participating in games or practices. The timing of that decision was curious and this report about McConnell makes it even more intriguing.
The question then becomes: Is T.J. McConnell the answer as your backup point guard? There’s no questioning McConnell’s work ethic or effort. It’s fair to wonder if his size and lack of elite athleticism could be an issue going forward.
The Sixers’ bench, including McConnell, has struggled recently outside of rookie Landry Shamet. Elton Brand will no doubt be scouring the trade and buyout market to help shape his bench.
So does Brand truly value McConnell as a legitimate backup point guard or just a stopgap while the Fultz situation plays itself out?
For now, McConnell will get the opportunity to run the team’s second unit and isn’t going anywhere.
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