Last season, Sixers GM Sam Hinkie went into the NBA trade deadline with a simple mission: get rid of as many players with any kind of talent as possible for whatever he could get in order to maximize the odds in the draft lottery. The result was the departures of Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen, a boatload of second-round picks, a 26-game losing streak and what would eventually become the No. 3 pick and Joel Embiid.
This year, as the trade deadline quickly appraches this Thursday, the Sixers are in a very different situation. There are no overpaid, underperforming players to dump and the bulk of the roster could easily be part of Hinkie’s long-term plans for the franchise.
So what can Sixers fans expect to happen at the deadline? Who could be packing their bags and who is going to stay put? Let’s take a look and see if we can’t make some educated guesses.
Probably not going anywhere
- Michael Carter-Williams
- Nerlens Noel
- Robert Covington
- Jerami Grant
- Tony Wroten
- Joel Embiid
Of the current roster, the bulk of the young core is more than likely staying put. This being Sam Hinkie, you never know because if a deal comes along that is too good to pass up anybody could be traded, but for the most part I think those listed above are safe. A lot of it depends on Hinkie’s plan for the 2015 NBA Draft. If he is planning on a point guard, Michael Carter-Williams could be on the move. Or if he has his heart set on Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, either Nerlens Noel or Embiid could be packing their bags.
But all of that being said, odds are none of the above players will be going anywhere. They are all young, talented and have a ton of potential, too much to let them go just yet.
Even chance of a trade happening
- K.J. McDaniels
- Hollis Thompson
- Henry Sims
- Andrei Kirilenko
- Furkan Aldemir
- Jason Richardson
If Hinkie does make a move, there is about a 50/50 chance it could involve any of these players. There is always a demand for big men in the NBA so a team might be willing to do a deal for Henry Sims or Furkan Aldemir depending on their needs. If it included a second-round pick or two, you can bet Hinkie would do the deal and then just grab someone from the D-League. Andrei Kirilenko has yet to suit up for the Sixers, so if they have a chance to unload him and get any kind of asset in return, they should. And Hollis Thompson has been having a subpar year so he could be used in combination with another deal, similar to what happened to Lavoy Allen.
And then there is the case of K.J. McDaniels. Most analysts assume he would be safe from any trades given his performance during his rookie season. But the fact he signed that one-year deal for the chance to get a bigger payday down the road could give Hinkie pause. If the right offer comes along, don’t be shocked to see McDaniels on a different roster come Friday.
Probably headed out of town
- Luc Mbah a Moute
Of all the current roster, Luc Mbah a Moute is the most likely to be traded by Thursday. He is an expiring contract and is having a solid year averaging 10 points and 4.9 rebounds a game. Mbah a Moute would be the perfect player for the Sixers to offer up in exchange for another, higher paid expiring contract and a second-round pick. The same could be said about Jason Richardson, but since he is still weeks away from playing it doesn’t seem as likely.
The Sixers currently have a payroll of $44.6 million, which is $18.4M under the salary cap. They have an absurd amount of room to play with a could easily help out any team looking to shed expensive expiring contracts or a franchise that needs to reduce their luxury tax. So while the trade deadline isn’t going to be nearly as exciting this year for the Sixers or their fans as it was last season, it’s a safe bet that Hinkie will make some moves in order to improve the team and further the rebuilding effort.
And just think, this time next year at the deadline, the Sixers could actually be looking for help to make a, dare we say it, playoff push.