Well, it's been two full days of free agency, and the Sixers, despite providing little effort to sign free agents, may have created the largest wave in the league after completing their trade with the Sacramento Kings. As Levin wrote yesterday, calling this a "trade" may be inaccurate. This was a pillaging, a plundering, a ransacking, a complete whitewash of a franchise that may be the most dysfunctional in recent memory.
A quick recap:
Carl Landry, Power Forward, $13million over 2 years
Jason Thompson, Power Forward, $13.5 million over 2 years
Nik Stauskas, Shooting Guard, $14 million over 4 years
2018 Top 10 Protected 1st Round Pick
PIck Swap Rights 2016 & 2017
Rights to Arturas Gudaitis
Rights to Luka Mitrovic
This was a salary dump, clear and simple. The Kings desired to open up cap space in order to pursue free agents, such as Monta Ellis, Wesley Matthews, and Rajon Rondo. In the second full year of Vivek Ranadive's ownership tenure, he strongly prefers to make a playoff push, and this was Sacramento's way of pushing their chips all in.
Unfortunately for the Kings, it seems as though it was a trade that was highly unnecessary. Zach Lowe wrote yesterday evening that they could have simply used the stretch provision on just one of Landry or Thompson, allowing them to extend their cap hits over twice the period of time, which would have opened up the requisite space for moves of this proportion.
Compounding matters, the Kings have struck out on their first two free agent targets.
ESPN sources say Monta Ellis and Indiana Pacers have agreed on a four-year, $44 million with an option to return to free agency after Year 3— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 2, 2015
Wes Matthews has agreed in principle with the Mavericks on a four-year deal, per source. Turned down huge offer from Sacramento.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 3, 2015
In both cases, it seems that the players in question turned down more money to play for Sacramento, preferring to avoid a team that has been an embarrassment since Ranadive's ownership began.
In a nutshell, part one of this deal means Hinkie traded for Sacramento's ping pong balls for the next two seasons. The Sixers are projected to have a worse record than the Kings, which makes the pick swap seem immaterial. In fact, it simply means Hinkie has increased his chances at a Top 3 pick, as it remains likely that both Philadelphia and Sacramento will be in next year's lottery. If the two teams were to finish with identical placement to this year, here are the Sixers' improved chances at the top picks:
|Top Pick||Top 2 Picks||Top 3 Picks|
|Without Pick Swap||15.60%||31.30%||46.90%|
|With Pick Swap||21.90%||42.52%||61.19%|
Those are huge increases in the Sixers' likelihood of securing a high draft slot, and a near guarantee that they would be picking in at least the Top 3. The Kings' inability to sign their top two Free Agent choices following the trade make it even more likely that they will have quite a few ping pong balls available. This increase in probability is applicable for both years, assuming the Kings finish in the Top 10 of the lottery.
If the Kings' pick places outside the Top 10 in 2016 or 2017, it will transfer to Chicago. This would negate the Sixers' pick swap rights for the single year that it happens, as the pick swaps are not transferable to later dates.
Pick swaps that Sixers agreed to with SAC for 2016 & 2017 don't carry over to other years if they don't convey. Only for the stated seasons.— Jake Pavorsky (@JakePavorsky) July 2, 2015
First Round Pick
In addition to the right to swap picks in 2016 and 2017, Hinkie also secured the Kings' first round pick in 2018. Per the Stepien Rule, the pick may not convey in 2018, as the Kings still owe the Bulls a Top 10 protected pick from the disastrous JJ Hickson trade in 2011. No team may trade two consecutive draft picks, so if the Bulls do not receive the pick until 2017, the Sixers would be delayed a year in recouping their own pick. If the Bulls' pick has not conveyed after 2017, it will become two seconds, which would allow the Sixers' pick to convey in 2018.
The Kings placed similar protections on this pick as they did with Chicago. It is Top 10 protected in 2018 and 2019, but becomes unprotected in 2020 were it to not convey in those two years.
Per @ZachLowe_NBA's column today, SAC pick is Top 10 protected in '18 & '19, and unprotected afterward.— Marc Whittington (@MWhittington13) July 2, 2015
But wait! There's more to the trade! The Sixers actually got players back as well!
The most important player in the trade is Nik Stauskas, who the Sixers were reportedly interested in during the 2014 draft, and who they have now acquired for the cost of two second round picks. Stauskas was a great shooter at Michigan and showed some promise as a secondary ball handler during his final year at Michigan. He struggled mightily last year with the Kings, posting underwhelming per 36 stats of 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists last year. He was also a very poor defender and posted negative BPM and VORP last year.
However, he is still only 21 years old, and playing in a toxic situation can't have helped his development. The Sixers are betting that providing strong coaching and a stable environment will enable him to once again tap into his potential. He will join Hollis Thompson and Robert Covington as shooters playing off of our three centers, and hope that he will both complement and be complemented by Okafor, Embiid, and Noel.
Landry and Thompson are both bench bigs who clutter an already full frontcourt rotation. Thompson could potentially help a contender as a 3rd big, having posted career per 36 stats of 12 points and 9 rebounds. Landry peaked as a player during his final year in New Orleans in 2011-12. He tore a ligament in his wrist during his first season in Sacramento and has struggled to regain form since.
Neither Gudaitis nor Mitrovic are big losses for the Sixers. Both were unlikely to ever suit up in Philadelphia, as there was unlikely to be room in the crowded frontcourt. Trades like this completely vindicate Hinkie's proclivity for second round picks, as they show how you can move them for considerable value when you find a desperate enough team. Gudaitis and Mitrovic were selected in drat slots acquired through the trades of Lavoy Allen and Evan Turner. In essence those two players turned into two first rounders and increased lottery odds. Not a bad haul, two years later.
This trade shows exactly why Hinkie has been so careful to maintain cap flexibility and to hoard assets. When the right situation arises, you want to be able to take advantage of it. On Wednesday, the 76ers did.