The Philadelphia 76ers finalized a trade Thursday to send guard Patrick Beverley to the Milwaukee Bucks for guard Cameron Payne and a 2027 second-round pick. The exchange of bench options wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy if it weren’t between two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

By acquiring Beverley, a veteran most known for his hard-nosed defense and trash-talking, could be an attempt by the Bucks to kickstart their locker room after a recent skid. Since parting ways with coach Adrian Griffin, the team has gone 1-4.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo complained earlier in the season that the team had issues with effort and focus, and it seems that those struggles have persevered under new coach Doc Rivers. The team is now third in the Eastern Conference standings with a 33-18 record.

The 76ers, meanwhile, hold a 30-20 record but have not yet established themselves as the championship contender many expected them to be before the season. Even with reigning MVP Joel Embiid producing at an elite level, the team has been overshadowed in the East by the likes of the Cavaliers and Knicks, teams that Philadelphia has routinely outperformed in recent years. The Sixers are currently fifth in the conference, putting them out of reach of old rivals like the Celtics or Bucks for now.


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Based on Beverley’s reputation, many will focus on Milwaukee’s side of the trade. Beverley has made a name for himself as a scrappy player, which could benefit the Bucks, who have developed an undesirable role as the conference’s sleeping giant.

But while Beverley could help his new team on and off the floor, Payne could also be an interesting addition for Philadelphia. The 29-year-old journeyman has had next to no playing time in Milwaukee behind Damian Lillard and others, but in four seasons in Phoenix, he proved reliable off the bench and could find a similar niche again with more opportunities.

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