Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - In lieu of a traditional
"Winners/Losers" NBA Trade Deadline Day column, because, honestly, who won on
Thursday, let's just examine the day for what it was, an incredible boring
shift of mediocre parts.
Did anyone significantly improve on Thursday? You may read or hear the Indiana
Pacers did great, but there will be more on that later. There will be a lot
more on the Philadelphia 76ers considering they were the only team that made
Every deal but the Evan Turner/Danny Granger move was low-impact. There were
some minor moves I liked. Thought the Golden State Warriors did well to get
Steve Blake. Nice job by the Washington Wizards to pry Andre Miller from the
Denver Nuggets. Nando De Colo intrigues me for the Toronto Raptors, and
Spencer Hawes could help the Cleveland Cavaliers get to the eighth seed in the
But every other move was junk, so let's get to the biggie.
On its surface, it looks like the Pacers did well to get a 17-point scorer in
Turner for the expiring contract of Granger, who looks like a shot fighter at
Is Turner an upgrade over Granger? Absolutely, he is. Is Turner going to be
the missing piece to help the Pacers get past the Miami Heat? Absolutely not.
Turner is someone who needs to be seen to be appreciated, or not so
appreciated. His numbers are inflated based on the fact he had the ball in his
hands quite a bit for the 76ers and they ran a less-structured offense than my
CYO team in the early '90s.
Turner has no unique skill other than the fact he's a great rebounder for a
wing player. He's a good ball-handler and good mid-range player. He's also
not a great defender, not a great shooter and when things go poorly, like when
he doesn't get a call, Turner turns to mush. He complains to officials rather
than retreating on defense. That certainly won't fly with the veteran-heavy,
And where does Turner exactly fit in the Pacers' rotation? He won't take major
minutes from Paul George. Duh. He won't even steal Lance Stephenson's time.
Stephenson is a much better two-way player than Turner and Stephenson provides
things Turner can't, like defense and ball-handling.
Again, Turner will bring more to Indiana than Granger at the respective stages
of both players' careers. If you examine Turner's numbers and couple that with
Granger's knees, which resemble a 100-year-old arthritic elephant's, it makes
sense. Just don't think this was a major coup by Larry Bird. Turner is just
not that great a player, especially in his fourth season after being the No. 2
pick in the draft. But for a non-factor, who won't return next season, it's a
decent move by the Pacers.
(And don't bring up Lavoy Allen. Several pundits have brought up his defense
and overall play in the Eastern Conference semifinals two seasons ago against
the Boston Celtics, but he's regressed since then. Allen got a two-year deal
from Doug Collins and returned out of shape and less-motivated. He won't crack
the big-man Pacers' rotation barring injury or foul trouble.)
So now, we come to the 76ers.
It's been clear from the draft day that Sam Hinkie's plan for the team has
been to stockpile as many assets as humanly possible for the future.
The draft day trade of Jrue Holiday for a protected first-round pick and
Nerlens Noel looks like it will come to fruition this season because the New
Orleans Pelicans won't be playoff-bound, but they also won't be top-five level
bad. That's two top-12 picks in a loaded draft come June.
That's a really solid start, and so is the development of Michael Carter-
Williams, who once looked like a shoo-in for NBA Rookie of the Year, but now
provides more turnovers than a bakery. It's all part of the process.
On Thursday, the Sixers sent Turner, Allen, Hawes and a future second-round
pick for Granger, Earl Clark, Henry Sims, Eric Maynor, Byron Mullens and six
All three shipped players were free agents to some degree after the season,
and none factored into Hinkie's long-term plans. Sadly, neither did anyone
Clark has been waived, spending less time than in Philadelphia than someone on
a layover at the airport. Some thought Granger would get bought out, but he'll
play out the string. Sims is inconsequential. Maynor and Mullens both have
player options for next season, but the options are so small, Hinkie would cut
them quicker than he would a piece of cantaloupe.
In fact, the Granger acquisition did its job. The Sixers were below the
salary-cap floor, so his inclusion on the team gets them over that hump and
they'll avoid penalty. The penalty would have been small - the 76ers would
just have to divvy up however much money they were short under the cap to the
players on the roster, so in essence, Granger's mere existence cost the Sixers'
players a few thousand dollars each. He better buy pizzas.
No one faults the 76ers for jettisoning pieces that weren't here for the long
haul. However, the plan has some flaws.
First, this isn't the NFL, where second-round picks are prized possessions. The
picks the Sixers will have in the second round will be their own (assuming it
stays under the protection, otherwise it's the Clippers, but it's a safe bet
this is Philly's), the Cavs, the Nets, the Rockets and the Grizzlies.
Again, with this being the NBA, not the NFL, packaging two or three second-
rounders won't move the Sixers into the top 20 or probably even the top 25 in
the first round. It just doesn't happen.
So it the picks remain with the Sixers, is there that much value in the second
round? In this draft, maybe, especially because their own pick and Cleveland's
should be fairly high in the second round. That will help in this deep draft.
But second-round picks are crap-shoots at best, sadly with the emphasis on
crap. Of the 150 second-round picks since 2009, 25 are impact guys in
rotations. That's a subjective rough estimate, but that's one out of six,
which is pretty close to the exact number of Sixers picks in this upcoming
Basically, if the Sixers are lucky, one of those picks will turn out,
otherwise, they'll be stashing so many players in Europe they should open a
corporate office in Brussels.
With teams holding on to first-round picks like they were gold doubloons, all
of these second-round picks were probably the best Hinkie could do. Assets are
the name of the game when rebuilding an NBA franchise. That and cap space.
Here's the other problem with the Sixers' plan and it involves money. The
Sixers will probably have as much or more than any other team in available cap
space this summer. It's a bumper free-agent class, but who will want to come
LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade are
all a hard no. That leaves some lower-level guys and that's no way to rebuild.
That's what Joe Dumars did in Detroit and the Pistons are still trying to get
out from under that avalanche of incompetency.
Free agents go to teams based on the roster composition and city. Carter-
Williams, Noel and the two first-rounders next season get them close on the
roster front, especially considering the youth.
But, free agents will want to go to Miami, New York or either Los Angeles
team. Philadelphia is nowhere in that mix, so with all of that money, what can
the Sixers actually do with it?
The most logical answer would be for the Sixers to acquire a high-contract guy
from another team. Being under the cap, they can do that without shipping
equal salaries in return. Again, will a player like a Kevin Love want to
stay? Getting murky again.
The Sixers' plan is solid and the only realistic one. But it didn't move that
much in a forward direction on Thursday. The flexibility that all of these
second-round picks affords the Sixers isn't that great considering history,
and drafting players in those spots is no bargain, either.
The Sixers didn't give up anything too drastic, so it was a marginal day. It
certainly wasn't a bad one, it just wasn't a huge step in the rebuilding
And if you're looking for a trade deadline day loser, look no further than
Philly's Thaddeus Young.
He has two years left on his deal and is staying with the Sinking Ship
Sixers. When their lineup is Carter-Williams, James Anderson, Granger (if they
don't buy him out, which, I think they will), Mullens and Young, a team that
couldn't beat the Washington Generals on a neutral site, Young will still be
out there, banging and playing hard.
As my friend John McMullen said, "Thad thought it was parole day." It wasn't.
It'll be his turn one year from now as the Sixers will probably get ... wait
for it ... a second-round pick back for him.
- Guess that MVP race isn't quite over yet?
- Anyone starting to think the Heat are in better shape now than the last two
seasons when they won the title? Record-wise, they are right there and this is
their time of year. I think the "Kevin Durant is MVP" talk, coupled with the
"Indiana Pacers are now the best team in the East" chatter could rub Miami the
- Glen Davis' buyout makes all the sense in the world to me for the Orlando
Magic. He's had some off-court issues, but it also frees up more time for
Tobias Harris and Moe Harkless, and gets Victor Oladipo time at shooting guard.
Jameer Nelson will be gone soon and maybe the Magic draft Dante Exum to play
- As for Davis' future landing point, the Clippers make a lot of sense. They
traded two big men on Thursday and that rotation is weak after Blake Griffin
and DeAndre Jordan. Doc Rivers got the best out of Davis in Boston. Miami
would possibly be interested, too, considering they have an open roster spot
after the Roger Mason trade.
- The Heat will probably wait to see if Danny Granger and Antawn Jamison get
bought out before doing anything.
- Movie moment - Finally catching up on last year's Oscar nominees, so it'll
be a while before I get to this year's.
- TV Moment - As I stated recently, USA vs. Canada in hockey would be the only
Olympic viewing I'd do. Well, that didn't happen. Watched hockey before and Doc
Emerick is so clearly the best game broadcaster in sports, it's not close.
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