The Philadelphia 76ers have formed a formidable team of the future with the arrival of mobile center Joel Embiid, do-it-all forward Ben Simmons and pure scorer Markelle Faultz. These promising young players along with solid veterans (J.J Reddick and Amir Johnson) have transformed the Sixers into a legit playoff contender this season.

But the process isn’t stopping there because Philadelphia has the tools to become a legitimate superpower next season. With Reddick and Johnson’s contract expiring and salary cap going up, the Sixers are projected to have a sizable cap space in the summer of 2018. Moreover, Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo could create enough room to accommodate the contract of max-level free agents such as Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.

Adding a legit superstar to their current core is certainly enticing, but it needs some moving parts for the Sixers to achieve that level of payroll flexibility in next year’s free agency. Veteran point guard Jerryd Bayless is the most logical trade candidate on the Sixers’ roster. Bayless will be playing on expiring contract next year worth $8.6 million, making him an appealing target for teams looking for more cap space for the 2019-20 NBA season.

Okafor-Bayless Package

Should the Sixers struggle to get a premium offer in exchange for Jahlil Okafor [VIDEO], the prospect of pairing the former No.3 pick with another asset (such as Bayless, Nik Stauskas and other expiring deals) is an option for Philadelphia. The most logical suitor out there is the Phoenix Suns, who will have the patience to wait for Okafor’s development.

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A Sixers’ package consists of Okafor ($4.9 million) and Bayless ($9 million) in exchange for say, Greg Monroe’s expiring deal worth $17 million, would work for both ways financially. Philadelphia would then create enough space to extend Robert Covington and absorb a max-level free agent next summer. Phoenix, on the other hand, gets a veteran to mentor their young guards in Bayless and a still high-upside player in Okafor.

Raptors struggling to move Valanciunas

The Toronto Raptors are looking for ways to get under the salary cap and avoid luxury tax repercussions. However, gaining some sort of payroll relief [VIDEO] would need some sacrifices, including the possibility of trading a key component to the team.

Hoops Rumors scribe Luke Adams confirmed that the Raptors explored potential trades before with Jonas Valanciunas as the centerpiece of the deal. Unfortunately, Toronto hasn’t received an intriguing offer for Valanciunas, who is still a productive big man (10.4 ppg and 7.6 rpg) but has the playing style outdated for today’s NBA. Unloading Valanciunas would alleviate the Raptors $16.5 million off their payroll. Then again, the Raptors would still have to unload additional salaries to get under the cap.