The Sixers became a part of the three-team deal that sent Kevin Love to the Cavaliers not because the players they landed were going to be all that important to their chances next season, but because doing so would net them a future first round draft pick for their troubles.
The players Philadelphia received in the deal — Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved — were underwhelming in their previous seasons, at best. But with the Sixers unabashedly playing for tomorrow, and with so little talent currently in place on the roster, there is value to be had in keeping these players, even if for only one season.
Shved, a third-year pro from Russia, is set to make $3.2 million next season while Mbah a Moute is on the books for $4.4 million.
Neither player averaged more than four points last year, though the Sixers could try to determine if the 6-foot-6 Shved could help beyond 2014-15 in the rebuilding of a franchise.
Regarded as a good defender, Mbah a Moute’s biggest value might be continuing as a mentor to fellow Cameroon native Joel Embiid, who is likely to miss his rookie season as he recovers from foot surgery. The 7-foot Embiid was the No. 3 choice in June’s draft.
An NBA source said Shved has a chance for some minutes and that Mbah a Moute is also expected to stay, as opposed to being waived or bought out.
Shved showed decent ability in his first NBA season, but a reduction in minutes a year ago saw his production decline, as well. Mbah a Moute can defend as was mentioned, but his value as a veteran presence to help usher Embiid into maturity might be what keeps him in Philadelphia for as long as the team deems necessary.
For the Sixers, it’s all about filling roster spots with reliable NBA bodies for next season. The team is below the minimum salary level, to the point where trading for Amar’e Stoudemire at the deadline could be a consideration, provided the Knicks don’t need him at that point and there’s some compensation involved for Philadelphia taking on the last few months of his uninsurable contract. Keeping Shved and Mbah a Moute would solidify at least two spots on the bench, and avoid having the revolving door of sorts that existed on the roster for much of last season.