The 76ers were prepared to make major changes to their roster to get the point guard they covet at Thursday's NBA trade deadline.
The team offered a packages that included shooting guard Nik Stauskas, point guard Ish Smith, and a 2016 first-round pick to the Atlanta Hawks for point guard Dennis Schroder, according to several league sources. The Sixers also considered adding a player with an expiring contract, the sources say.
Former Sixer JaKarr Sampson was said to be player with the expiring contract in the deal. The Sixers were able to package Smith in the deal, even though he was acquired less than 60 days before, because the team was below the salary-cap floor.
The uncertainty surrounding the re-signing of Smith this summer was a holdup for the Hawks, according to one of the sources. The point guard, whose stock rose this season, is expected to have plenty of suitors when he becomes a free agent this summer.
"You can look at it both ways," Smith said. "But I'll face that one when we have to go through that situation." The focus right now, he said, "is on playing hard and playing together as a team."
The Hawks ultimately decided to keep Schroder, their standout backup. However, a source said he expects the Sixers and Hawks to revisit trade talks for him during the NBA draft on June 23.
"I feel like at trade deadline, if the right deal comes, everyone is at risk of being traded. That's just the way this business goes," Stauskas said. "There's nothing to take personally about it. There's nothing to get upset about. If anything, it's a compliment that the other team wants you. That's the way I look at it.
"At the end of the day, no trades were made. So rumors and rumors, people are going to talk. I don't know what else to tell you."
Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie does not comment about trades. Sixers coach Brett Brown disputed the possible trade Tuesday during his media availability before the home game against the Orlando Magic. According to Stauskas, Brown laughed when he told him about the report.
"But I think just in general, you just ignore it," Brown said of having his players deal with trade talks. "And tell them long before it starts to happen that it's going to be a part of your world with me or with others."
But league source are adamant that the Sixers offered those players in a trade.
Schroder is signed until the end of the 2016-17 season. The Hawks have the option to give him a qualifying offer of $3.8 million in 2017-18. A source said that the Sixers were expected to sign Schroder to a lucrative deal.
The Sixers believe Schroder, 22, can lead them at a high level well into the future. The third-year veteran out of Germany is one of the league's top up-and-coming talents. He has improved to the point that the Hawks considered trading starting point guard Jeff Teague to make room for him.
The 6-foot-1, 172-pounder is averaging 11.2 points, 4.7 assists and 21 minutes in 56 games, with six starts.
The Sixers acquired Stauskas from the Sacramento Kings in July. He has shown flashes of skill, but the second-year player from Canada has mostly struggled in the NBA.
The team reacquired Smith in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans on Dec. 24. He has been a spark plug for the organization. But there's a sense the team believes that the 27-year-old is more of a backup point guard than a long-term option. Smith first came to the Sixers in February 2015. The team chose not to re-sign him last summer.
The Sixers waived Sampson on Thursday to make room on the roster for Detroit Pistons reserve center Joel Anthony in a three-team between the Sixers, Pistons and Houston Rockets that was voided on Monday. Sampson signed a two-year deal with the Denver Nuggets that day.
The pick the Sixers offered to the Hawks was one of the protected ones they have from the Los Angeles Lakers (top three), Miami Heat (top 10) and Oklahoma City Thunder (top 15).