Worst. Trade Deadline. Ever.
We all sat glued to Twitter, waiting for blockbuster deals to comb over with our friends. At the very least, even if you knew your favorite team wasn't making any big moves, you probably sat glued to Twitter hoping they would trade [insert your least favorite role player] for [insert coveted role player on some other team]. For instance, when I heard speculation that Minnesota was looking to get Tony Allen from Memphis for JJ Barea, I was excited! I didn't even care that Memphis wanted us to pay Tayshaun Prince for that privilege.
Alas, there were only a few minor moves, and for "big" moves, all we got was this sorta-kinda-ok-but-not-really-a-blockbuster trade:
Y! Sources: Indiana trades Danny Granger to Philadelphia for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. http://t.co/WolYMemvqv— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 20, 2014
It has since been revealed that Indy has also included a future second round pick. Because it appears to be Hinkies plan to have the entire second round belong to Philly.
The immediate Twitter reaction is, of course, that the Sixers are into full-on tank mode now. They traded their best scorer! I'm reminded a lot about how the Bulls were completely throwing in the towel when they traded Deng (even though their record has improved since that trade) and the Raptors were finally quitting when they traded Gay (even though their record since that...ok, maybe you get where I am going).
The 76ers are a bad team. No one on this site will tell you otherwise. But they aren't in that special "worst team of all time" space that pre-season pundits placed them in, and this trade isn't going to change that. In fact, I think the Sixers are going to be a tiny bit better from here on out. Let's take a look at the changes they've made -- Allen, Hawes, and Turner left, and Granger and Clark are in (along with a few dozen future second-round picks).
As you can see, the win column doesn't move a lot. If Clark takes their minutes (we'll get to that in a bit), losing Allen and Hawes means that the Sixers are losing some replacement-level production at forward/center, but Granger is actually an upgrade over Turner at small forward. Primarily this is because:
- Granger can shoot threes
- Granger doesn't turn the ball over
Given that Granger is recovering from injuries, it's hard to say how he'll perform, but even if doesn't recover and maintains his current form, it's still a short-term upgrade over Turner. This is the biggest factor in all the moves because Turner was leading the team in minutes (and if you don't think this was because Hinkie was trying to pump up his numbers, I'd like to talk to you about a deal I have worked out with a Nigerian prince that could make us both rich!).
My guess is that Granger starts at SF, and Thompson the SG, but they could also use Granger at guard and Thompson at forward. Either way, they'll shoot better from beyond the arc and turn the ball over less.
Turner never fit into Philly's long term plans. Hinkie and Brown are both guys who want to shoot less from the midrange, and Turner is an old-school midrange shooter. Kirk Goldsberry puts it best:
Evan Turner brings a solid midrange game and mediocre 3-point shooting to Indy; here's his chart: pic.twitter.com/HvnF9pacTH— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) February 20, 2014
The thing that Goldsberry leaves unsaid (perhaps intentionally?) is whether "solid midrange" is a desirable thing that you should trade for. Turner turns the ball over a ton, and having watched about 25 sixers games, it's my opinion that most of these turnovers are because he tries to create offense by driving; the defense doesn't honor his three-point shot, so when he drives into the sagging/doubling defense, balls get slapped out of his hands a lot.
Ok, so that's the wing? What about the big man situation? The first thing to note is that neither Allen nor Hawes were earth-shattering talents (if Turner, Hawes, and Allen were all great players, Philly wouldn't have a 15 in the win column, right?). But over the short term, Philly might have trouble fielding even replacement-level talent. But if I had to guess, most of the minutes are going to come from two guys we haven't seen much until now: Arnett Moultrie (who's back in the lineup) and Nerlens Noel (who's going to be hard to keep out much longer). And if Noel is half the prospect he looked like, even coming off a bad injury, he's probably good enough that the absense of Hawes won't be a big deal. And if Moultrie is half as good as he looked in limited minutes last year, then...well, he's as good as Lavoy Allen!
No one is saying that Philly has suddenly morphed into a playoff threat, but I think it's clear that this trade didn't actually make them any worse. I still think Philly will end the season in the 25+ win range (possibly rattling off a couple of win streaks in the dog days). But they now have absurd cap flexibility this offseason, a great piece to trade in the offseason (many teams will be interested in Young), about 50 draft picks, and three great pieces for the future in Carter-Williams, Noel, and Thompson.
It's a good day to be a Sixers fan, really!
$27.2 million on 10 players. Two likely lottery first round picks in 2014. Five second round picks in 2014. Let's assume that someone gets bought out (I'm looking at you Jrich) and 5 rookies get on the roster (and their combined pay is in the $8 million ball-park). That puts Philly in the $30 to $35 million range in salary for the 2014-5 and 2015-6 seasons with a roster of young picks. If we assume they have access to the Spurs and Rockets tools for drafting or have built similar tools (a fair assumption), we can expect some of these late picks to turn into productive NBA players. That's $37 million plus below the tax level.
That means that not only will the Sixers have four lottery picks on the roster (MCW, Noel + two 2014 picks) and a couple of likely Spurs-like late second round steals, but they will also have the cap room to sign two max level free agents without hitting the luxury cap treshold.
I have no words. This is the kind of cheating I do when I play franchise mode in various sports video games.