There's no collection of procrastinators worse than NBA GMs. Though they have the better part of a season to execute a trade, the majority of them will wait, assuming their assets will rise in value or someone will blow them away with a better offer. It doesn't happen, and as the Trade Deadline backs them closer and closer to the trash compactor, they make last ditch efforts to pull off something miraculous. The list of big name trades left on the cutting room floor due to time running out is lengthy.
Sam Hinkie. His first year out from under the shadow of Daryl Morey, equipped with cap space, a 15-40 record, and three veterans the entire free world knows he's trying to trade. There have been easier situations for your first Trade Deadline.
And he finds that predictably, GMs don't want to trade. They think they do. Ownership thinks they do. But when it comes to taking on more salary for half a season to make a contention run at the expense of picks, it's too risky.
"Chicken shit," is how it was described to me by a Sixers source. Teams are crazy reluctant to give away any picks from the 2014 NBA Draft for fear of the 23rd selection getting inducted into the Hall of Fame as a rookie. That fear trickles down to the rest of the league. If no one is willing to give Hinkie a first-rounder for Thaddeus Young, it's awfully hard to blame him for not getting one. Two to tango, etc. Gotta be frustrating for him.
The Sixers' haul, as you can read here, was not a massive one. Moving your leading scorer and one of the best offensive centers in the NBA, both age 25, should net a decent return in theory -- but that's not how it works anymore.
Both Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes are expiring contracts. Back when teams were doling out lots of years and lots of cash to Larry Hughes and Brian Grant then regretting it a year later, expirings had lots of value. But now that the CBA curbs long contracts, they're not as important to the trade game. So when trying to talk up Evan and Spencer, you find yourself stretching opposite ways -- on one hand, they're expiring so they don't take up much space and you're not overly committed to them. On the other, you're only getting them for 27 games before they become free agents. Is it worth moving four cheap years of a draft pick for 27 games of those guys?
The answer, the NBA found out yesterday, was a resounding NO. Because of the hyped 2014 Draft class, the new CBA scaring teams from going over the luxury tax, and just a general dearth of dumb GMs with fungible assets, impotence was at an all-time high outside of Philadelphia in the NBA spectrum yesterday.
Evan and Spencer and Lavoy became six future 2nd round draft picks and five players, none of which figure into the longterm plans of this organization. Is that good on its own? Simply, no. You tell me before the season that that's what Hinkie would get for those three and I'd be disappointed. Certainly.
But the fact is, there wasn't anything else out there. Not in December, not a week ago, not at the Deadline.
So Hinkie was left with the choice of, essentially, let all three of these guys walk away this summer for diddly, or try to get something of value for them. While 2nd round picks aren't as sexy to the common man as they are to me, they're certainly something in a world where the alternative was quite literally nothing at all. And with the Bucks' top spot sorrrrrrrrt of in reach, the absence of three NBA players will keep the steady stream of losses flowing.
Did Cleveland and Indiana benefit from Hinkie's distinct lack of leverage? Definitely. Most people would say they won those trades. But that doesn't mean the Sixers lost them. Doing nothing would've been worse. The market set itself, Hinkie couldn't get what he wanted, he adjusted, and came away with some more assets, as well as Thaddeus Young, who they'll now be focused on moving at the Draft.
Not even a year into his reign, and Sam Hinkie has wiped out almost every vestige of the previous regime -- only Thad Young and Arnett Moultrie (and Jason Richardson) remain from last year's team. He's in position to have seven picks in the 2014 NBA Draft, including two in the Lottery. He's set himself up to retain the pick his predecessors traded for Moultrie in the first place, and when it becomes two 2nd rounders if they miss the playoffs next season, Hinkie's covered his ass for that scenario as well. More 2nd round picks! The answer to everything!
Both of Hinkie's eyes are fixed on the future. Cap flexibility, draft picks, and maybe a leg or two of the foundation he's trying to build in Philadelphia. Not to mention another big day where he stepped up as the most active and risk-taking GM in the league. Not bad for his precarious first Deadline in charge and so so so so wildly different from the last guys in charge.
Offseason soon. 27 games of Fun Bad before we get there.
- Sixers Trade Deadline Review: Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen Out, Picks In
- Sixers Waive Earl Clark, Trade Deadline Never Ends
- Pacers Trade Danny Granger to Sixers for Evan Turner, Lavoy Allen at the Deadline
- Byron Mullens Trade: Sixers Send 2nd Rounder to Clippers at Trade Deadline
- Sixers Acquire Eric Maynor, More Second Rounders in Three-Team Andre Miller Trade with Wizards, Nuggets