The Jrue Holiday/Nerlens Noel Trade Was Just the Beginning for Sam Hinkie
You don't cut the head off a chicken and call it a day. You've got wings, legs, breasts, and thighs all just waiting to be devoured. The headless chicken, while visually symbolic of a host of erstwhile Sixers-related metaphors, is a half measure. No more half measures.
The Jrue Holiday trade was a huge step forward (or backward, depending on where you're standing) for an organization that ran a marathon on the treadmill of mediocrity. Replacing him with Michael Carter-Williams and, tangentially, an injured Nerlens Noel will make them much worse. But it will not yet make them horrendous. Sam Hinkie, even if he surprises us, has not finished with the incumbent roster that Plymouth Rock landed on.
"Everyone can be traded" - Arya Stark. Andrea Bargnani actually netted the Raptors three picks. They received things for him. It's something that bears repeating as we enter the desperation part of the offseason for some teams: It only takes one. One team can make a terrible trade. We should know this -- the Sixers traded Allen Iverson for Andre Miller and Joe Smith. It doesn't take all 30 teams and all of Twitter agreeing on something for a trade to go through.
Which leads me to the three tangible assets Sam Hinkie has tried to move and will continue shopping. I've left out guys like Jason Richardson, Kwame Brown (buyout, please?), and Lavoy Allen not because I don't think Hinkie could find suitors for them (I did!), but because they're just less interesting.
2013: $6.68M; 2014: $8.72M (QO)
At this point, it's best to think of Evan as an expiring contract. His qualifying offer next year is pretty huge and, should the Sixers hold onto him this year, he's poised to set career highs in counting statistics with no one else to take all the shots. I no longer buy into Evan ever becoming the player we wanted him to be -- problem is, neither does most of the NBA. Most teams will simply hang up the phone.
Hinkie may not find the trade he's looking for this offseason, so he could hold onto him and make a mid-season trade when teams aren't so rosy on their own prospects and Evan is scoring 20 per game (on 41% shooting) with 7 boards and 4 assists. I think a realistic haul for him will be a late first-rounder and an undervalued prospect.
2013: $8.6M; 2014: $9.16M; 2015: $9.72M (Player Option)
With Jrue gone, Thad is easily the team's best asset. He's on a fair deal, he just turned 25, and he'd really be the perfect role player on a contender. For his sake as much as the team's, I want to see him play next June for a better team.
It's tough to gauge Thad's value. He's gotten better each year, but without a three-point shot at the moment, he's off the list as a 3 or 4 for about half the teams in the league. Plus, he's an expensive contract to trade for. It's not easy to make those salaries match. If the Sixers want to take on more money for this year and clear future years off the books, they do have that $6.2M trade exception they got in the Nerl the Pearl trade.
I think Thad's the one that is most likely to be moved. He's a great dude and the longest-tenured Sixer, but there's just no non-sentimental value in keeping him if this year is about player development and, essentially, losing games.
The return for Thad could be substantial. He was almost traded for DeMarcus Cousins on draft night. I keep looking at Oklahoma City as the team to make a move with. Jeremy Lamb and/or Perry Jones are just sitting there. I don't think their drafting Andre Roberson and Grant Jerrett impacts a Thad trade either way.
Illegal basketball activities aside, Spencer is on his last year with the Sixers. Again. As a "jumpshooting" "big" "man," Spencer actually fits the assumed Sam Hinkie system more than Thad or Evan do. But advanced stats still don't favor The Big American and i can't imagine Sam is burning up Spencer's agent to try to re-sign him.
Since he's an expiring contract, though, he may be more valuable here than Evan and Thad. Some teams legitimately value him and there's always the off-chance the Sixers could pull in a tangible asset in return ("Can't teach height," they said.), but if I had to bet on it, I'd say Spencer stays a Sixer for 2013 with a decent chance of moving him at the deadline to a team looking for "size."
Either way, he won't be with the Sixers next year. And we'll probably get to see some fun Angry Hawes, which is my nephew's favorite game to play on the iPad.
There's a ton of moves to be made. And if there's anybody I trust to make them to add to the five (FIVE!) picks the Sixers will have in the 2014 NBA Draft, it's our General Manager.
Pass the gravy, Sam. Daddy's hungry.
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