The first domino has dropped in Bryan Colangelo’s plan for this year’s trade deadline, as The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the 76ers have traded Ersan Ilyasova to the Atlanta Hawks for Tiago Splitter and two second-round picks.
While reports have yet to indicate what second rounders are to be included, Atlanta currently owns the Brooklyn Nets’ and the Miami Heat’s second rounders for this year and the Washington Wizards’ second-round selection in 2019. The Hawks also owe their second rounder to the San Antonio Spurs this year, but it’s protected from picks 31-55. The Hawks’ pick will very likely be in that range, so it’s possible that Atlanta could be dealing that selection to the Sixers if/when it ultimately falls between 31 and 55.
Ilyasova, 29 and a impending free agent, didn't fit into the team’s long-term plan, given the presence of Dario Saric and Ben Simmons on the roster. While his floor-spacing may have benefited Joel Embiid to begin this season, his shooting stroke has fallen off as Saric has risen to the status of maybe the best non-Embiid rookie in the NBA. This leaves room for Saric to start at the four for now or possibly for Simmons to do so once he returns from injury (if he’s not playing point guard).
This is a savvy move from Colangelo, as he’s now transitively flipped Jerami Grant into a 2020 first rounder from Oklahoma City and two second-round picks now from this deal. Splitter is on an expiring deal himself with a cap hit of $8.55 million. Given that he comes into an exceptionally overcrowded frontcourt situation, it’s possible that he could be waived or possibly moved in another deadline deal. Per Jake Fischer, insurance also covers his contract:
Tiago Splitter's salary is covered by insurance, according to a league source. Only counts against the cap. https://t.co/zXIOjqOzdU— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) February 23, 2017
Update: The Sixers and Hawks are swapping their second-round selections for this season.
Source: Atlanta's sending a 2017 second-round pick (via Miami) in the Sixers trade. Hawks/Sixers swapping other 2017 second-rounders.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 23, 2017
SECOND UPDATE: #Godner has spoken.
#sixers will have the right to swap least favorable GS/NYK/Detroit/Utah 2017 2nd round pick for Atlanta's 2017 2nd round pick, per source— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) February 23, 2017
The #sixers have not decided on whether they will retain Tiago Splitter, according to a league source.— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) February 23, 2017
THIRD UPDATE: It looks like Splitter may be staying in Philly according to Wojnarowski’s article on the trade:
The Sixers plan to use Splitter, 32, as a mentor for their young centers the rest of the season.