Three takeaways from the Sixers Activity at the Trade Deadline

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Philadelphia 76ers
Feb 3, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor (8) in a game against the Atlanta Hawks at Wells Fargo Center. The Atlanta Hawks won 124-86.Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Takeaways from the Sixers Activity at the Trade Deadline

Because of Sam Hinkies’ previous brash decision-making at the past few trade deadlines, many believed that the Sixers would surprise everyone again and trade Okafor or snag a protected first rounder for dirt. Instead, the Sixers brass made the very unimpressive move of swallowing Joel Anthony’s $2.3 million cap hit and grabbing yet another trivial second round pick. Even though the Sixers stayed relatively quiet, the rumors that swirled around them however, were quite telling. Below are some takeaways from all the happenings from this past week.



Just the fact that Jahlil Okafor’s name was even mentioned in trade talks is indicative of what the Sixers front office thinks about the state of this team. This team is not concrete…yet. Sam Hinkie and Co. are still looking for their generational talent that would validate this whole process. Some people around the league viewed Okafor as that type of player, but you do not see any cornerstone names being thrown around in trade talks, especially in the NBA. Okafor may be a future All Star, but the Sixers are not ready to declare him the face of the franchise. Simply put, NBA teams do not trade their foundation, and the Sixers were seemingly a tad bit interested in moving Okafor, a player that many thought could turn this rebuild around.

In addition to the Sixers souring on the fact that Okafor is the guy, there is the feeling that they like the defensively dominant Nerlens Noel over the defensively deficient Jahlil Okafor. Defense is becoming paramount these days, especially down on the block. You can see it out in LA. Now granted Blake has had his off the court issues, but rumors are that Griffin can be had via trade. Griffin, an exceptionally offensively gifted power forward may not be viewed by the Clippers as favorably as they view defensive stud and Griffin’s frontcourt partner, DeAndre Jordan. That is one example, and yes it has its complications, but the Sixers may be following along those lines. Noel’s offensive game is certainly nowhere near Okafor’s but he is young and athletic enough to develop while it is much harder to become a better defender. Okafor would be lucky to even sniff Noel’s defensive potential. The experiment with these two big men this season may end soon, and if it does, look for Okafor to get the boot, not Noel.


There is no way on Earth that Okafor is even thought to be traded if Joel Embiid was unable to play and play soon. A lot of people have dismissed the second year player, but the Sixers certainly have not. He is the best asset they have, and things must be looking up enough for the Sixers to feel confident enough to think about moving Okafor. Yes, Okafor is not the cornerstone, but if Embiid cannot play, you scratch any idea of trading him and you continue to grind him and Noel together and hope for sparks. The whole purpose of this plan was to build through the draft and losing Embiid would be like losing an entire draft. Embiid was compared to Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon went he exited Kansas, and if he can be 80% of either of them, the Sixers have themselves a true cornerstone. But he has to be healthy and he has to progress, and evidenced by Okafor’s name being floated around trade talks, the Sixers still believe in Embiid.


This deadline, for the most part, was run by Colangelo. Hinkie was probably having an aneurysm when he saw the Suns and Blazers absorb cap hits and take some picks. Sam did get his though when the Sixers acquired Joel Anthony along with a second rounder but there was no doubt somewhat of a leash on the Sixers GM.

Furthermore, the Sixers fans were flabbergasted when beat writers were writing that the Sixers were interested in older, non-rebuilding type players like Blake Griffin and Jeff Teague. Sam Hinkie would have never ever thought about acquiring either one of them. Too many of his beautiful assets would have to be forked over, and Sam would just not have that. That is a huge sign that Hinkie is not the guy in charge anymore, and that the immensely experienced Jerry Colangelo is.

Unfortunately for Hinkie, Colangelo runs the show and he is a smart man. Now, Colangelo knows what he is doing. He sees the possible first round picks in this draft, and he sees the considerable amount of untapped potential on this team. He would not be involved in talks to acquire guys like Teague or Griffin if he did not think the Sixers were ready to contend sooner rather than later. Colangelo sees that guys like Demar Derozan and Bradley Beal will hit the market this summer and that unbelievable amount of cap space that the Sixers have. Acquire either Teague or Griffin, sign either of the two guards hitting the market, draft Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, and pair them with Embiid, Noel/Okafor, and Dario Saric and there you go, the Sixers would do some serious damage in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers failed to trade for either of the players and the free agent signings are pretty unlikely, but you have to like Colangelo’s thought process.

Jerry Colangelo came to the Sixers in an effort to bring credibility to their operations, but now that he is in the driver’s seat, he is not going to put up with this whole tanking process, meaning Philly fans may have something serious to root for sooner rather than later.