Today, February 23, 2017 at 3pm EST was the deadline for NBA teams to make trades with eachother. Rumors were flying, and players were moved in a relatively busy couple days for the league. The biggest news post trade deadline, the Sacramento Kings send possibly the best big man in the NBA to New Orleans for a less than stellar return. Other big names on the move; Sixers big man Nerlens Noel, former first overall pick Andrew Bogut, Orlando center Serge Ibaka, and high scoring veteran guard Lou Williams. Here I’ll highlight the winners and losers of the NBA trade season and of course, how the Sixers made out.
You can check out a list of all the deadline deals HERE at New England news site, NESN.
One of the first deals to happen was the Orlando Magic shipped big man Serge Ibaka to Toronto in exchange for sharp shooter Terrence Ross and a 2017 1st round pick. The Raptors sit at 5th in the Eastern Conference standings, PF Ibaka should add some solid rebounding and a scoring option for a team that has struggled as of late. In the less publicized of their trades, they got competent forward PJ Tucker from the Phoenix Suns for a couple 2nd round picks and Jared Sullinger (a throw in) aka basically nothing.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans took advantage of the, completely incompetent, Sacramento Kings front office. In exchange for rookie SG Buddy Hield, SG/SF Tyreke Evans, journeyman PG Langston Galloway (Former SJU Hawk), and 2017 first and second round picks; New Orleans received a top 10 player in Demarcus “Boogie” Cousins. Cousins is one of three players in the league averaging more than 25 points and 10 rebounds in a game. One of the others, current New Orleans PF Anthony Davis. Both players went to Kentucky but are high usage bigs, so we’ll see how they mesh.
Demarcus Cousins was projected to be on the move this trade deadline, however NBA insiders suspected it would cost multiple first round picks and a big name to get the deal done. The Kings settled for much less when the only real value they received was one first round pick and an unproven Buddy Hield. Even Sacramento General Manager, Vlade Divac, admitted he had better offers just a few days prior.
The Rockets upgraded their bench with a veteran shooting guard in Lou Williams. The cost was a late 2017 first round pick and career role player, Corey Brewer. Lou Williams has won NBA Sixth Man of the Year and can still shoot the ball, he will fit in well with Houston’s run and gun style.
Dallas received a young up and coming center with a high ceiling in Nerlens Noel. Noel had a tumultuous career in Philadelphia, but the 22 year old sixth overall pick could develop into a really solid player in this league. The Mavericks sent first round pick SF Justin Anderson, aging veteran C Andrew Bogut, and a late first round pick to Philadelphia.
See above, they are dumb.
The Sixers had to move a big man this season, however Nerlens Noel was not the right one. It seems clear that the market for Jahlil Okafor was basically non-existent, but this seemed like a deal to make a deal situation. The return was not enough. Noel seemed like a valuable piece of the Sixers future even as a back up. The first round pick is top 20 protected so if the Mavericks don’t fall that far in the draft (more than likely), it will turn into 2 future second rounders. More to follow…
The 76ers had an interesting trade deadline with up and down fan reactions. First, the Boogie Cousins trade was great for Philadelphia. Due to a great trade by Same Hinkie (RIP) just a few seasons ago, the 76ers earned the rights to swap 1st round draft picks with the Kings this year, should Sacramento’s pick be higher. With the Kings already a dumpster fire, they should free fall the rest of the season without their best player. Cousins led the team in minutes, points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and field goal percentage.
After that the Sixers traded SF Ersan Illysova. He went to the Atlanta Hawks in Exchange for two second rounds picks and C Tiago Splitter. This may not seem like a blockbuster trade, however, good return for a player that has changed teams 5 times in the past 18 months. Ersan is a good player and brought a lot on and off the court, but he was an unnecessary piece this season. The truth is, without Illysova, more minutes are freed up for Dario Saric and Richaun Holmes. Additionally, in typical Hinkie fashion, the Sixers have stockpiled more picks in years to come.
Then today, the questionable decisions happened. With the log jam at center, we expected a move to be made, just not with Nerlens! He seemed to be our back up/bench player of the future with Embiid as our MVP center for years to come. Instead, we traded him to the Mavericks for a young small forward in Justin Anderson and a first round pick that most likely becomes two second rounders. This hurts, especially when we heard rumblings of first round offers or Celtics guard Avery Bradley. Seems like Jerry Coangelo settled for this one.
The other side of this argument, Nerlens Noel is due to become a free agent this summer. Meaning, any team can offer him a contract with the Sixers having the option to match the offer. This would have probably been close to a max contract offer putting him at somewhere around $18 million+ a year. That’s a lot to pay for a back up center, and losing him for nothing would be bad.
Bottom line, the Sixers made more deals at the deadline then any other team. They accrued some picks in upcoming drafts and have a solid chance at a couple lottery picks in 2017, one of the more loaded drafts in recent years. Ben Simmons might not play this year, but it looks like Joel Embiid will be back. We have our own pick thus year that has a chance to be the number one selection, as well as the Lakers pick if it falls out of the top 3. We also have the option of swapping our pick with the Kings who now appear to be worse then ever, making our chances at some great picks in June pretty good. Sixers beat writer Tom Cooney of philly.com wrote a great article about what to expect the rest of the season here. The future is still bright although we will miss Nerlens Noel, as always Trust the Process!