Sixers trades spark remarkable doubt, but was there a method behind the madness?


With the 2017 NBA trade deadline passing two days ago, it’s the analysts’ time to critique them. It should also be mentioned that general managers have more information than the average fan or writer on players’ individual feelings and desires. So maybe the decision to trade or hold onto a specific player isn’t what it seems. Unless Bryan Colangelo knows significantly more than the rest of Philadelphia and that works out in his favor, he shouldn’t go to games any time soon because the most of the city is looking to bring back former GM Sam Hinkie.

The day before the deadline expired, Philadelphia sent power forward Ersan Ilyasova to the Hawks in exchange for Tiago Splitter, Miami’s 2017 second round pick, and the ability to swap second around picks in 2017 as well. This trade made sense, good job Bryan.

With Dario Saric averaging 20 points a game over the last five games, this trade gives him the opportunity play more. He and Ilyasova competed for minutes and the Turkish thunder, Ilyasova, often got the crunch time minutes, while also played against other team’s starters. Through 56 games, Saric’s play has continued to improve as his confidence rises.

On November 1, Philadelphia traded Jerami Grant to Oklahoma City in exchange for Ilyasova and a top 20 protected 2020 first round pick. Evan with such high protection on the pick, getting this much for Grant was spectacular. Grant realistically isn’t worth any type of first round pick. Ilyasova also served a specific role in Philadelphia. He was there to mentor the younger guys, to help them grow and to eat up some minutes. Since he was only under contract for this season, and with Saric starting to play even better, he became expendable and the front office wanted to get something in return instead of letting him walk away in free agency.

The addition of Tiago Splitter is fairly meaningless. Splitter has been a major disappointment after signing with Atlanta. Before he signed there, the Brazilian was a key contributor on the Spurs and even won a championship there. Splitter and Ilyasova make relatively the same amount of money and both are in the final year of their contract. He will not get much playing time on the team even if he gets healthy. Interestingly enough, Splitter and Brett Brown played together in San Antonio.

At the beginning of the season Philadelphia had Jerami Grant. After two connected trades, they turned him into a protected first round pick, two second round picks and Tiago Splitter. That return on investment is enormous. Colangelo should be applauded for that.

Without a doubt, the most noteworthy trade was when the Sixers sent Nerlens Noel to Dallas in exchange for “a protected first round pick” (in actuality it’ll be two second round picks), Justin Anderson and Andrew Bogut. This trade is still mind-boggling. It just doesn’t add up for multiple reasons.

The first round pick the Sixers received is protected 1-18. So, for the pick to convey to Philadelphia, Dallas would have to make the playoffs AND not have one of the four worst records of playoff teams. Right now, the team who currently sits with the fourth worst record of the teams who would be in the playoffs if they started today is the Oklahoma City Thunder, 32-25 or .561. In comparison, Dallas is 22-34 for .393. The Mavericks are currently 9.5 games behind OKC, and there are eleven teams between them. The chances are so slim, it is almost an afterthought. The Sixers got 2 2nd round picks.

Justin Anderson could be the steal of this trade, and if he is then Colangelo will get a little more credit for this. He’s in his second year after spending four years at the University of Virginia. He was a very good fundamental player. Since entering the NBA his shooting ability has been lost and he’s still looking for it. The 6’6” shooting guard is shooting 28.8% from three and 40.4% from the field throughout his season and a half in the NBA. His biggest upside may be on the defensive end. Anderson is already an above average defender and will probably the second best perimeter defender behind Robert Covington. Another positive for Philadelphia is Anderson’s contract, three years remaining and he’s currently making a sprinkle above $1.5 million.

The inclusion of Andrew Bogut in this draft only made sense if the Sixers were able to trade him before the deadline passed, but they weren’t so lucky. The two sides are working towards a buyout so he can sign with any team. Bogut wouldn’t get any playing time behind Embiid, Saric and Richaun Holmes. When the Australian is cut and chooses to sign with a championship caliber team like San Antonio, Cleveland or Golden States, the Sixers will be unhappy. He clearly has value especially as a rim protector and many championship caliber teams were looking for upgrades. Second round picks have so little value it’s inconceivable to think that Colangelo couldn’t get a second round pick for Bogut.

Trading Nerlens Noel made sense if they didn’t believe he would resign with the team in the offseason. Even if that were the case, it’s pretty hard to argue that they got even close to face value for a team’s acquisition of Noel. There were rumors of Boston offering their first round pick last summer. Even a pick in the 20s is better than two in the 40s or 50s. It wasn’t made clear what other offers the Sixers received, but it’s hard to believe that they didn’t receive anything better.

The Sixers were looking to trade center Jahlil Okafor hardest. He was often viewed as the third big man out. After just a year and a half in the league, Okafor had fallen out of the rotation and was not viewed highly across the league. Numerous teams showed interest in trading for him but nothing came to fruition. The Duke protect should’ve been the one traded in an ideal world. But who knows, maybe with more playing time he’ll improve his stock and can be traded in the offseason.

As of right now this looks like a horrendous trade, but if Justin Anderson turns out to be anything like Jae Crowder (another Dallas second round pick who was considered a meaningless addition in a trade) who had played quality basketball in Boston, or if the second round picks pan out, then Colangelo will have gotten lucky. Bryan Colangelo I hope this trade works out for the Sixers but if it doesn’t, it’s entirely your fault.


Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports