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Everybody Freak Out: An NBA Trade Deadline LB Public E-Mail Thread

Everybody on Liberty Ballers had things to say about yesterday's rampage, but that would have been a lot of posts, so we started a running dialogue shortly after the fireworks started.

Goodbye, old friends. Tell the playoffs we'll see them down the road.
Goodbye, old friends. Tell the playoffs we'll see them down the road.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

OK, we're all still recovering, and some people will write longer, more detailed thoughts on this (and some already have!), but for some, we need something greater than 140 characters, but less than a full post.

Let's talk MCW first.

Personally, I'm good with it. They have been trying to trade MCW since roughly the second he shoved that Sixers hat onto his head. They looked at him as the 11th pick in an 11-player draft, a nice player, an asset.

He outperformed expectations. But the bottom line is that point guard is the deepest position in the league, and MCW wasn't exceptional. How many point guards got moved today? It's not a hard position to fill. If you can get value for a guy who even on his best day isn't in the top half of the league at his position, you do it.

Is it a minor setback in the short-term? Absolutely. It's hard to preach the process and then trade away guys that follow it. But there's no point in building around players that you don't think can execute your vision, especially when you can draw value from them elsewhere.

That's me, though. Your thoughts?

Tanner Steidel

Hasn't it been pretty clear that he wasn't a part of the long term plan, though? Any expectations about him being any part of a playoff run would be created by only you at that point. I think it's been pretty obvious he was gonna get dealt eventually.

I see it as you've been dating a girl for a year and she's okay. You know she's okay. You know there's no real future in it. But your friend likes her a lot for you. You've told him over and over again that it's not gonna last. Eventually you break up with her and your friend gets really pissed at you for it saying she was a keeper. He has no reason to get mad though, knowing all along that you were going to pursue better things. Sure she was above average, but you coulda easily went out on a Friday and found another girl of equal value. You don't want that average girl, you want the girl who takes your breath away. You want the Lyla Garrity you deserve.

Michael Baumann

I was never a big MCW fan, though I'm sympathetic to concerns about how he was the team's highest-profile player and part of a core with Noel, Embiid and Saric that they seemed to be trying to get to bond, so what will trading him do to chemistry and morale? I'm even more sympathetic to concerns that even if they get a better player with the pick (which isn't a certainty), trading MCW represents kicking the can down the road another couple years on the rebuild, though that might be more annoying to me as a fan than it is detrimental to the team, objectively.

With that said, MCW wasn't very good. He put up big counting stats because of his high usage rate, he's an extraordinarily inefficient offensive player and he's old enough now (four and a half years older than, say, Emmanuel Mudiay) that you've got to start wondering how much higher his ceiling is than his present quality of play. For that, at the deepest position in the league, the Sixers got what will be a fairly high lottery pick either this year or, more likely, the next, which, considering they got MCW at 11 in the worst draft in the past 15 years, is a deal I'll make 100 percent of the time.

Justin F.

I agree with you a lot.

MCW may be a high character guy, but what good is a high character guy if he does not fit the vision or team philosophy? MCW is a replacement level player at the league's most fungible position, and loyalty for loyalty's sake is a Collins-ian philosophy Hinkie has so wonderfully evaded. Doug Collins had loyalty, and it almost got us Kwame Brown at 4 years and $20M. Instead it got us Kwame at 2 years and $6M. But it still got us Kwame. And that's not good!

MCW was never the centerpiece of this team. He stole headlines his first game of the season and since then many have been deluded as to his importance to the team's future and his overall ceiling at a relatively unimportant position. The past two years have never been about MCW, and it is not happenstance the Sixers selected Elfrid Payton at 10th overall in 2015 before trading him for Dario Saric. MCW is an inefficient, god-awful jump shooter and his defense tends to be overrated.

And in exchange for MCW, the Sixers got a (eventually) guaranteed first round pick of a team whose state can best be described as "hot mess." It may not convey this year, and that's okay, it will have a better chance of conveying the next couple of years before it becomes guaranteed in 2016. But I am very comfortable in saying that the Lakers pick has a higher ceiling than MCW.

This trade may not be a step forward, but it also is not the step back many people will make it out to be.

Jake Fischer

I don't hate it, but I'm definitely against the MCW trade. I'd heard from coaching staff and players that he was a total team-first guy, worked hard, studied film, was a great leader in practice and had no off-court problems. Plus, I've been a sucker for his size, passing ability defensive instincts. I truly believe he will be an All-Star in this league one day and I'm excited to see how he can grow alongside pretty talented Bucks roster.

If someone in higher management had a problem with his character or his game and saw this as exponentially greater value than MCW, that's fine. But if this was simply trading him to just for a higher pick, that we might not get until 2016, That's a problem.

They were set up with two 2015 firsts and this current group to actually make a run at the 8 seed next season. At some point, you have to stop treating your franchise like a turnstile of assets and swapping players for future picks and actually start forming a cohesive group that can contend for the playoffs. I'm very bummed this will get pushed back a year now unless OKC and LA's picks miraculously get conveyed this year. Which, I guess, is certainly possible.

Dave Rueter

I'm certainly not the stats guy in this bunch, so I'm sure I'm in the minority, but man, it'd be nice if the fans had someone on this roster for more than a season and a half. I love the picks, but give me time to grow an attachment to a player. MCW was a good soldier here and played with a dog shit supporting cast. I'd like to have seen what he did with a better cast.

Mike Levin


Sohil Doshi

I'll compare and contrast this to how I reacted when Hinkie made his initial trade and signaled the rebuild by trading Jrue on draft night. In both occasions, my first feeling was initial shock. The second feeling is sadness/anger about losing a player that I had gotten attached to. But then it differs.

The Holiday trade became palatable because, in return, the Sixers got Noel in addition to the future draft pick. Furthermore, after the debacle of the previous season, the hard reset was what seemed like the best decision considering the Sixers lack of talent, lack of cap flexibility, lack of future picks, and lack of star power. Despite the lack of a big man to actually compliment his game (sorry Spence), he was closed to a finish product in terms of his improvement and game.

MCW became one of the faces of the franchise. Flaws and all, watching him formed an attachment. And watching guys come in and out of the team is getting kind of tiring. While I don't believe in bad narratives of Hinkie being an emotionless robot, this move felt kind of cold. MCW put the team on his back, took on the criticism of this team tanking, and was a team guy... and in one afternoon, he's gone.

Look, I get the plan and direction. It was objectively a good move in terms of getting value out of a guy who plays a fairly replaceable position and, barring a big (but not impossible) improvement in his shooting and team defense, was just average. But, after this year, I'll have endured a poor product for 2 years. It's hard to keep watching guys come and leave, especially if you're invested in seeing "building" and "improvement".

Kyle Neubeck

Nothing was going to top trading for a guy named Chu Chu Maduabum, but Hinkie certainly tried.

I don't really get the backlash to this. They got a premium pick for a replacement-level player at the league's deepest position. I understand this is less palatable framed next to the team's growing cohesion, but we were all aware of the fluidity of this rebuild.

Crying over trading Michael Carter-Williams -- nice guy, not a great basketball player -- is disagreeing with the process itself. This is about two things: Finding a star and then finding the pieces that supplement him. MCW was never going to be the guy, and he wasn't going to fit well with Joel Embiid barring drastic improvement.

Even if Embiid isn't the guy, a point guard who can't shoot limits your roster makeup from the jump unless he has some otherworldly ability to offset that. It's like building around a big man who can't protect the rim or deal with pick-and-rolls. You can do it, but you need very specific pieces to make it work.

Maybe the team has a tough time with this, and I can't blame them. This guy was their face and their voice in the public eye. But I'll counter Sohil saying this has been a bad product for two years with the same idea -- it's two years. The Sixers have been relevant, like really relevant, one year in the 25 I've been alive.

Half measures and deciding, "Well, this guy is good enough I guess" gets you where the Flyers are. Living a deluded existence on the fumes of championships won three-plus decades ago does nothing for me.

If anything, I'm a little upset about the KJ deal. Felt kinda unnecessary even though I like Isaiah Canaan. That contract scenario playing out like this is something I worry about more than "losing the locker room" currently full of misfits and guys fighting for careers. But I guess if Hinkie is going to have a ton of incoming players on guaranteed first round deals, it won't matter.


The KJ deal is so much more interesting, because as much as Hinkie likes to talk about not looking at the result, but what you knew at the time, I feel like we have to see what KJ's contract ends up being, right? That's really the ultimate decider of whether this is a good deal or not.

I never thought this was the problem that a lot of people tried to sell it as, but apparently it really was a huge factor, and something the Sixers were afraid of. I don't think this is selling particularly high. I really like Canaan, and the 2nd is nice, but it's certainly not a crazy great offer.

I'll effusively praise the MCW deal, because I think it was the right move. It's aggressive, but they sold high (ultra-high, in my opinion) on a nice player who's not exceptional. They basically made the Jrue Holiday trade again.

They're not settling for being good enough. They want to be great.

The KJ deal, I understand it, but I just don't think I'm going to like it until I see what KJ gets. I reserve the right to change that opinion when Canaan starts raining threes one night and I just keep tweeting CANAANBALL over and over again.


I agree with everything Matt said. That's why I brought Matt onto the blog. So he can say the smart things and I can take credit for his work.


T-Rob just got bought out. Gimme.


If K.J. signs for four years, $32 million, I'll be fine with the trade. However, I would have liked to get a lot more in return than Isaiah Canaan and a future second. I would have preferred Clint Capela or Terrence Jones.


Takes two people to make a trade, fella. Houston's not giving up three years of Capela for a half a year of KJ or the right to overpay him.


I completely understand that. My point is simply that the return for K.J. was not nearly what I would have needed to deal him if I was the guy with my finger on the trigger. I think most fans agree and I think that's why there's been more widespread disappoint regarding losing K.J. than MCW.


Definitely underwhelmed with the return for KJ. Maybe I got spoiled with us getting a guy named Chu Chu Maduabum, but I expected some obscure International player coming back, as well.

No but seriously, I guess we can't truly evaluate the trade (much like others) until the future. If KJ does sign a big like that, then I'm fine with it all. Getting a pick around the same one KJ was chosen plus a potential back-up PG is fine. That said, he had some skills that would be missed.

I find some solace in knowing that Grant and Sampson have shown some growth/improvement.

Roy Burton

A while back (read: last week), I wasn't sure that Matt Carey existed. Now, I realize that he's the personification of the things that I've always wanted to say about the Sixers.

I do want to circle back on Baumann's and Fischer's point, though: Let's say they stood pat and just drafted Russell or Mudiay. I don't see why that team couldn't win ~35 games. As Jake F. said, I don't see much of a chance of that happening now. How many years is this team away from being a legit contender in the East, and is another potential ~20-22 win season going to beat down an already weary fanbase?

(FWIW, this isn't necessarily an argument against today's events - just an observation).


People tend to get upset when I say this, but they don't care about the weary fanbase. They really don't. I don't know if they watched the Phillies personally, but they know the market place. The Phillies ranged from awful to mediocre for 25 years (save for the one 1993 outlier, which got immediately negated by the strike.) Then, when they started really winning, they had turn-away crowds for five years and everyone in the Tri-State area had a Phillies car flag and three different novelty Phillies t-shirts. You could buy a season ticket plan anywhere you wanted for the Eagles in 1999, and four NFC title games later, there was a 50,000+ waiting list.

No matter how much they lose, when they win, the fans will come back. I'm sure they could've stood pat and won 35 games. Maybe more. But now you're at MCW's contract year and you've got to make a decision, plus look at the growth, how can you possibly trade him now? There's never a time where this was going to be a popular decision unless MCW's game went so far into the tank that nobody would want to trade for him.

The Sixers biggest asset isn't any single player or coach or executive. It's their patience.



I've always been #TeamFuckTheFans. If you start listening to the fans, you wind up blacked out in a Denny's parking lot in Henderson, Nevada with an infected tattoo of Bobby Jackson on your shin only to wake up and learn that somebody stole 4 years, $44 million from your wallet.


I would argue that MCW brings more outrage to the majority of Sixers fans than KJ.

While I'm still a little upset, I've let it all simmer a bit and I think Tanner's analogy and Mike and Spike's thoughts on the Ricky have helped me a little more positive about it all. The whole thing is that the goal isn't X amount of Wins and X amount of losses and/or low playoff seeds in Year 3 or 4, rather a potential championship and long-term prosperity. I think it's easy for a team to go from absolute crap to a low... hell, even mid-playoff seed. The hardest thing is that upper echelon, and sustaining it. This is all hypothetical because time has to work before anything happens... but beyond all the jokes about Hinkie punting seasons, I think he has an idea of a framework of a team and isn't going to settle for less than that.

A few thoughts:

1. I appreciate that the organization is really being patient and trying to literally build from the ground up. They don't want to get it wrong and they aren't taking shortcuts like signing unnecessarily and not ridding guys from their long-term plan for the sake of stability

2. His plans could very well end up going up in flames. Since it's all risk-reward, he's going to miss a lot more than he hits. We just have to hope his misses are not guys like Embiid who I think his plan is contingent on.

3. The bright side is, if he does fail, at least we aren't stuck the way the post-Bynum Sixers or present Nets/Knicks are stuck. The built-in flexibility of this all makes me feel more comfortable with the Sixers future more than I have ever been.



Root for the laundry, Sohil, and not the guys IN the laundry. It's easier that way.


I do think the KJ deal is the most complex of the deals the Sixers made today, and also the hardest to judge because of its dependency on information exchanged in negotiations that we may not be privy too. And as much as I hate hindsight analysis, this one almost necessitates it because we have no idea what KJ is going to wind up signing for this off-season yet. At this point, I value KJ more than Canaan and a second, but what happens when KJ hits the market? I've always been under the assumption KJ getting a big deal was an issue being blown way out of proportion, but that would appear to be false.

Assuming Joel Embiid sits out the rest of this year, what were the Sixers going to do next season even with MCW and KJ? Saric is almost definitely spending 2015-16 in Europe, and MCW is turning 24 in October with serious flaws remaining in his game. With no jump shot, his ceiling, impact, and efficiency becomes vastly limited. Unless Embiid is magnificent right from the outset, I never bought 2015-16 was a playoff team to begin with barring a cataclysmic chain of events in the Eastern Conference.

The Sixers have had far less change today than what first appears. Embiid is the player taking on the role people have projected onto MCW (and KJ albeit to a much lesser extent). I don't know if fans will grow weary or not, but maybe lowered expectations are for the best because otherwise 2015-16 would have been a year of frustration for many.


Meh, I've never been a clothes guy. I had my mom and little brother buy me clothes up until college (my brother still buys me clothes now...I think my mom still buys me clothes too.). And now I spend like a grand total of 6-8 hours in a year shopping for clothes. I can do my own laundry though.

Wait what were we talking about?


We were talking about fucking fans. Wait, that doesn't sound right.


Here's what it comes down to -- you can only be great by actively TRYING to be great.

People who achieve things of consequence do crazy shit like fly kites in thunderstorms or climb big ass mountains just to stand on the top and go YO I DID IT. Sure, the flipside is you might die, or in Hinkie's case get fired and mocked eternally for a failed experiment.

But it's something! All the Sixers have had since the one Iverson supernova year is a bunch of inching along hoping that they'd fall ass backwards into the American Dream. I get the emotional attachments, and they can't do this forever. Have to give this time, though. Lord knows I gave Eddie Jordan and Doug fucking Collins enough of mine.


Eddie Jordan and Doug Collins. Oh god.

Derek Bodner

It just amazes me how Michael Carter-Williams became this franchise building block that the Sixers rebuilding was dependent on. He wasn't. He was a guy that they took because if he fixed his fatal flaw, he'd be great. But he didn't. And probably couldn't. So cashing out when his value was high -- inconceivably high -- makes perfect sense. It doesn't represent a failed draft pick, it's not reverting to plan B, and it doesn't signal anything, outside of the fact that not all gambles turn out tits up. This is, of course, not a surprise. If MCW's jumper developing was a sure thing, he wouldn't have gone 11th. That's why Hinkie took him!

Just so many people looking to "prove" Hinkie's plan is failing. The worst thing is having the same debates over, and over, and over. From a basketball perspective, I'm 100% okay with where the Sixers are. If Embiid turns out to be who I think he will become, the Sixers have 3 very good draft picks over the next 15 months to either draft a second superstar or use them to trade for one. Bring it.

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