Admit it. You’re still in shock.
No one outside of the 76ers’ NBA draft war room, anticipated the moves new general manager Sam Hinkie and his staff made Thursday night during the draft.
Anyone who says otherwise isn’t telling the truth.
The Sixers gave up the face of the organization, point guard Jrue Holiday, to acquire the rights to Nerlens Noels, the sixth overall pick, in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. The Sixers also received the Pelicans’ 2014 first-round, which is protected from picks one through five, for a second-round pick (42d) in Thursday’s draft.
Are you joking? I’m still shaking my head.
Be honest, as an NBA all-star, you expected Holiday to be the lone untouchable player on the Sixers roster. He had the tools to become one of the league’s future superstars.
“We will take steps like we’ve taken tonight over and over and over,” Hinkie said. “We will take steps to be really future focused and try to build something special.”
Just so you know, Noel, a 6-foot-11 center who left Kentucky after one season, was a candidate for the first overall pick.
He won't be ready to play until December at the earliest after suffering a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear in his left knee. Before that, Noel was having an outstanding campaign, averaging 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 4.4 blocked shots while shooting 59 percent from the field. He had a school-record 12 blocked shots against Mississippi last season.
In addition to adding a solid rim protector, this a cap-friendly move for the summer of 2014. By getting rid of Holiday's scheduled $11 million deal, the Sixers could have as much as $36 million available to sign free agents next summer.
The trade could give the Sixers two first-round picks next year. The pick they traded to Miami in the Arnett Moultrie deal is lottery-protected.
But just don’t praise Hinkie for that draft trade. Applaud his entire draft.
The Sixers nabbed Noel's close friend Michael Carter-Williams, a 6-6 point guard out Syracuse with the 11th overall pick. Then, in the second round, they traded their 35th pick to Washington to acquire Nate Wolters, a point guard from South Dakota State, with the 38th pick, and the Wizards' 54th pick. Shortly afterward, they traded Wolters for the Milwaukee Bucks' 43d pick, Ricky Ledo, a shooting guard from Providence. They turned around and traded Ledo to the Dallas Mavericks for future considerations..
With the 54th pick, Washington selected Oregon forward Arsalan Kazemi for the Sixers.
None of the trades had been finalized as of early Friday morning.
“The ownership here and the people in this organization have a real commitment to build something lasting, and to build something big,” Hinkie said. “Sometimes that requires taking risks.
“Often that requires doing things differently – a little differently here and there,” Hinkie added, “a lot differently here and there. I think you’ve seen some of that play out tonight as you sort of see all of the activity that went on.”
It’s great to see the franchise make bold moves – even though they kept a brother busy on his first draft night as the Sixers beat writer. And things won’t settle down.
Hinkie didn’t address the media until 1:15 a.m. Friday due to partly trying to lock up the Sixers roster for the Orlando rookie summer league.
“I think tonight is sort of a summation of the kind of things we will have to do going forward,” Hinkie said. “We will have to find more and more players to be a pipeline of talent. The draft is a very big.”
Somewhere Sixers fans, who once lost hope, are screaming ‘Hallelujah.’
Follow Inquirer Sixers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers