Prodigal son Bryan Colangelo has been making the media rounds over and over (MAN DOES IT FEEL GOOD TO HAVE A GM WHO TALKS TO US AND GIVES US TOTALLY TRANSPARENT QUOTES LIKE "To what degree we'll be aggressive, it's too early to say." PROBLEM SOLVED I THANK YOU MAINSTREAM MEDIA FOR SAVING US FROM CONFUSION AND MATH), and saying exactly what you'd expect him to say -- the Sixers are not going to be ethereally bad anymore.
The new president of basketball operations of the 76ers sent a strong signal Thursday that Philadelphia may look to trade a top-five pick if it ends up with two when the lottery order is determined next week, telling NBA.com, "We'll certainly be open for business."
If you feel a churning in your stomach about the idea of giving up coveted draft picks for veterans, I don't think it's time yet. I'm as fierce an advocate as anyone for building through the top of the draft, period, but rigidness in team-building philosophy is the cardinal sin, regardless of who's running the show.
The concept of assets being packaged for a more immediate chance at a star was always hovering around The Process, and that doesn't change because a new face is out in front. We can rip the team without it turning into, "Everything they do and say is bad!"
I agree with Kyle. This was long going to be The Offseason anyway. There's no chance Hinkie would have made four first round selections PLUS welcoming Joel Embiid and Dario Saric into the fold. Folks were gonna get traded. It's Hinkie -- bitches be getting traded.
So I have no problem with Colangelo saying look, we have all these young guys and draft picks, let's Danny Ainge a couple of them into a legitimate player. That's good. That is a good thought.
But: setting expectations for a thing happening is dangerous, especially when that thing is not something you can control. This is how you become the Sacramento Kings -- organizational disarray notwithstanding -- from last offseason. They said they were going to sign all these big-time free agents, created the PHILADELPHIA SEVENTYPICKSWAPS, then panic-signed Rajon Rondo and Marco Belinelli en route to winning 33 games.
Now, trades are obviously different than free agency in that players don't have the option to say "uh, fuck that." So if a team is interested in what the Sixers are flaunting, a trade will be made. But there are two problems the Sixers face with this YOUTH for VERY GOOD VETERAN trade:
1. With the salary sap expanding, every team will see their cap room and think they have a shot at impact free agents. Fewer teams are going to be looking to rebuild.
2. Teams very rarely trade great players.
If we assume the Sixers would want somebody who's signed at least beyond next year, here are a list of players in that conversation, whether it's for the 1st/2nd or 4th/5th picks plus Okafor/Nerlens and other Sixersy assets. I'm going to assume for my sanity that Joel Embiid is totally off the table.
Paul George - highly doubt they move him.
Jimmy Butler - disgruntled, yes. But would take a ton, and Chicago probably still says no.
John Wall - can't imagine they move him.
Blake Griffin - I have no read on what LAC is going to do. I'd throw everything at them for Blake, though.
Kevin Love - Not for #1 or #2, but I don't think the Sixers have what Cleveland would be looking for anyway. would have to be a 3-teamer.
Goran Dragic - if Whiteside leaves and Miami wants to start over with Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson, maybe. But I think they'd ask for too much for the, what, 13th best point guard in the league? He's already 30. Depends on the price tag for me. But I bet they keep the core together anyway.
Danilo Gallinari - turning 28, has missed 20+ games in 6 of his 8 seasons. I like him, but I think Denver likes him more.
James Harden - *LOUD SHRUG*
Eric Bledsoe/Brandon Knight - if Phoenix is going to rebuild around Devin Booker, one of these guys is gone. I don't love either. My guess is they want to get just as BETTER FAST! as the Sixers do.
Paul Millsap - can't see Atlanta rebuilding with Budenholzer. Millsap is good, but he's only on this list to piss off Spike Eskin.
NO NO NONO NON ONN ON ON NON NO
Four top-20 players that are very unlikely to be moved, and a bunch of pretty good ones who are probably overvalued by their own teams trying to rush to contention via free agent spending. And James Harden.
Like Kyle, I don't think Colangelo is wrong in thinking it's time to package picks and youth for a very good player to help take pressure off the young guys and start to build a legitimate team. But because of the exploding cap and league-wide awareness that superstars rule the world, that very good player is likely not being made available. My concern is that he'll make a Kingsian panic trade that leads straight to the middle.
DISCLAIMER: If Joel Embiid is Godzilla, nothing matters, trade everybody for anybody, we're a dynasty.