In Sam Hinkie’s first major move as general manager, the Sixers traded All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans for Nerlens Noel during the 2013 NBA Draft.
As Noel finally prepares to hit the hardwood for the Sixers this season, the move seems like old news. However, considering some recent rumors, it remains relevant.
The move was certainly surprising when it went down on draft day, but it was actually in place days before the draft, and though the Sixers ended up with Noel, there were two other players that would have gotten the deal done.
CSN’s Dei Lynam reported after the draft last summer that Noel was one of three players that would have gotten the deal done; Anthony Bennett and Victor Oladipo being the other two.
Bennett, of course, ended up going first to the Cleveland Cavaliers, followed by Oladipo to the Orlando Magic, and Noel fell to Philly, but in light of the recent rumors of Bennett potentially being Philadelphia-bound, the organization’s early interest is intriguing.
Bennett spent much of his rookie campaign out of shape and injured, but whatever interest the Sixers had in him last summer likely remains, as he is only 21 years old and is nowhere near done developing. He already appeared to be in better shape at the Las Vegas Summer League, and after a season in Brett Brown’s boot camp he won’t have a choice but to be in solid shape.
He may never live up to the hype that comes with being a top pick, but Bennett could still be a very good NBA player. He is an athletic forward that can rebound, shoot, and stretch the floor. There’s always room for a player like that on a roster in today’s stretch-the-floor-oriented NBA. Next to a couple post-oriented players in Noel and Embiid, Bennett could provide a nice complement. There's a chance Bennett could be successful coming through the Sixers’ system.
A top pick just a year removed from his selection is fair value for Thaddeus Young and his costly contract, especially if some future picks are tossed in.
If a Young trade did beget them Bennett, the Sixers would then possess the first, sixth, and 11th picks of the 2013 NBA Draft. Considering that one has already proved to be an impact player, and the other two still have ample opportunity to do so, that would be pretty impressive.
The Cavaliers aren’t going to make any moves until late August when they can act on a Kevin Love trade and deal 2014 top pick Andrew Wiggins, so any movement with the Sixers likely won’t happen until that time. Even then, the terms of a trade are far from set in stone, and it is difficult to determine all the speculative details at this point. But, based on the team’s previous interest, the recent rumors involving Bennett and the Sixers should not be so surprising.