Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - In lieu of a traditional "Winners/Losers" NBA Trade Deadline Day column, because, honestly, who won on Thursday, let's just examine the day for what it was, an incredible boring shift of mediocre parts.
Did anyone significantly improve on Thursday? You may read or hear the Indiana Pacers did great, but there will be more on that later. There will be a lot more on the Philadelphia 76ers considering they were the only team that made franchise-altering moves.
Every deal but the Evan Turner/Danny Granger move was low-impact. There were some minor moves I liked. Thought the Golden State Warriors did well to get Steve Blake. Nice job by the Washington Wizards to pry Andre Miller from the Denver Nuggets. Nando De Colo intrigues me for the Toronto Raptors, and Spencer Hawes could help the Cleveland Cavaliers get to the eighth seed in the East.
But every other move was junk, so let's get to the biggie.
On its surface, it looks like the Pacers did well to get a 17-point scorer in Turner for the expiring contract of Granger, who looks like a shot fighter at this point.
Is Turner an upgrade over Granger? Absolutely, he is. Is Turner going to be the missing piece to help the Pacers get past the Miami Heat? Absolutely not.
Turner is someone who needs to be seen to be appreciated, or not so appreciated. His numbers are inflated based on the fact he had the ball in his hands quite a bit for the 76ers and they ran a less-structured offense than my CYO team in the early '90s.
Turner has no unique skill other than the fact he's a great rebounder for a wing player. He's a good ball-handler and good mid-range player. He's also not a great defender, not a great shooter and when things go poorly, like when he doesn't get a call, Turner turns to mush. He complains to officials rather than retreating on defense. That certainly won't fly with the veteran-heavy, defense-first Pacers.
And where does Turner exactly fit in the Pacers' rotation? He won't take major minutes from Paul George. Duh. He won't even steal Lance Stephenson's time. Stephenson is a much better two-way player than Turner and Stephenson provides things Turner can't, like defense and ball-handling.
Again, Turner will bring more to Indiana than Granger at the respective stages of both players' careers. If you examine Turner's numbers and couple that with Granger's knees, which resemble a 100-year-old arthritic elephant's, it makes sense. Just don't think this was a major coup by Larry Bird. Turner is just not that great a player, especially in his fourth season after being the No. 2 pick in the draft. But for a non-factor, who won't return next season, it's a decent move by the Pacers.
(And don't bring up Lavoy Allen. Several pundits have brought up his defense and overall play in the Eastern Conference semifinals two seasons ago against the Boston Celtics, but he's regressed since then. Allen got a two-year deal from Doug Collins and returned out of shape and less-motivated. He won't crack the big-man Pacers' rotation barring injury or foul trouble.)
So now, we come to the 76ers.
It's been clear from the draft day that Sam Hinkie's plan for the team has been to stockpile as many assets as humanly possible for the future.
The draft day trade of Jrue Holiday for a protected first-round pick and Nerlens Noel looks like it will come to fruition this season because the New Orleans Pelicans won't be playoff-bound, but they also won't be top-five level bad. That's two top-12 picks in a loaded draft come June.
That's a really solid start, and so is the development of Michael Carter- Williams, who once looked like a shoo-in for NBA Rookie of the Year, but now provides more turnovers than a bakery. It's all part of the process.
On Thursday, the Sixers sent Turner, Allen, Hawes and a future second-round pick for Granger, Earl Clark, Henry Sims, Eric Maynor, Byron Mullens and six second-round picks.
All three shipped players were free agents to some degree after the season, and none factored into Hinkie's long-term plans. Sadly, neither did anyone they received.
Clark has been waived, spending less time than in Philadelphia than someone on a layover at the airport. Some thought Granger would get bought out, but he'll play out the string. Sims is inconsequential. Maynor and Mullens both have player options for next season, but the options are so small, Hinkie would cut them quicker than he would a piece of cantaloupe.
In fact, the Granger acquisition did its job. The Sixers were below the salary-cap floor, so his inclusion on the team gets them over that hump and they'll avoid penalty. The penalty would have been small - the 76ers would just have to divvy up however much money they were short under the cap to the players on the roster, so in essence, Granger's mere existence cost the Sixers' players a few thousand dollars each. He better buy pizzas.
No one faults the 76ers for jettisoning pieces that weren't here for the long haul. However, the plan has some flaws.
First, this isn't the NFL, where second-round picks are prized possessions. The picks the Sixers will have in the second round will be their own (assuming it stays under the protection, otherwise it's the Clippers, but it's a safe bet this is Philly's), the Cavs, the Nets, the Rockets and the Grizzlies.
Again, with this being the NBA, not the NFL, packaging two or three second- rounders won't move the Sixers into the top 20 or probably even the top 25 in the first round. It just doesn't happen.
So it the picks remain with the Sixers, is there that much value in the second round? In this draft, maybe, especially because their own pick and Cleveland's should be fairly high in the second round. That will help in this deep draft.
But second-round picks are crap-shoots at best, sadly with the emphasis on crap. Of the 150 second-round picks since 2009, 25 are impact guys in rotations. That's a subjective rough estimate, but that's one out of six, which is pretty close to the exact number of Sixers picks in this upcoming draft.
Basically, if the Sixers are lucky, one of those picks will turn out, otherwise, they'll be stashing so many players in Europe they should open a corporate office in Brussels.
With teams holding on to first-round picks like they were gold doubloons, all of these second-round picks were probably the best Hinkie could do. Assets are the name of the game when rebuilding an NBA franchise. That and cap space.
Here's the other problem with the Sixers' plan and it involves money. The Sixers will probably have as much or more than any other team in available cap space this summer. It's a bumper free-agent class, but who will want to come to Philadelphia?
LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade are all a hard no. That leaves some lower-level guys and that's no way to rebuild. That's what Joe Dumars did in Detroit and the Pistons are still trying to get out from under that avalanche of incompetency.
Free agents go to teams based on the roster composition and city. Carter- Williams, Noel and the two first-rounders next season get them close on the roster front, especially considering the youth.
But, free agents will want to go to Miami, New York or either Los Angeles team. Philadelphia is nowhere in that mix, so with all of that money, what can the Sixers actually do with it?
The most logical answer would be for the Sixers to acquire a high-contract guy from another team. Being under the cap, they can do that without shipping equal salaries in return. Again, will a player like a Kevin Love want to stay? Getting murky again.
The Sixers' plan is solid and the only realistic one. But it didn't move that much in a forward direction on Thursday. The flexibility that all of these second-round picks affords the Sixers isn't that great considering history, and drafting players in those spots is no bargain, either.
The Sixers didn't give up anything too drastic, so it was a marginal day. It certainly wasn't a bad one, it just wasn't a huge step in the rebuilding process.
And if you're looking for a trade deadline day loser, look no further than Philly's Thaddeus Young.
He has two years left on his deal and is staying with the Sinking Ship Sixers. When their lineup is Carter-Williams, James Anderson, Granger (if they don't buy him out, which, I think they will), Mullens and Young, a team that couldn't beat the Washington Generals on a neutral site, Young will still be out there, banging and playing hard.
As my friend John McMullen said, "Thad thought it was parole day." It wasn't. It'll be his turn one year from now as the Sixers will probably get ... wait for it ... a second-round pick back for him.
- Guess that MVP race isn't quite over yet?
- Anyone starting to think the Heat are in better shape now than the last two seasons when they won the title? Record-wise, they are right there and this is their time of year. I think the "Kevin Durant is MVP" talk, coupled with the "Indiana Pacers are now the best team in the East" chatter could rub Miami the wrong way.
- Glen Davis' buyout makes all the sense in the world to me for the Orlando Magic. He's had some off-court issues, but it also frees up more time for Tobias Harris and Moe Harkless, and gets Victor Oladipo time at shooting guard. Jameer Nelson will be gone soon and maybe the Magic draft Dante Exum to play the point.
- As for Davis' future landing point, the Clippers make a lot of sense. They traded two big men on Thursday and that rotation is weak after Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Doc Rivers got the best out of Davis in Boston. Miami would possibly be interested, too, considering they have an open roster spot after the Roger Mason trade.
- The Heat will probably wait to see if Danny Granger and Antawn Jamison get bought out before doing anything.
- Movie moment - Finally catching up on last year's Oscar nominees, so it'll be a while before I get to this year's.
- TV Moment - As I stated recently, USA vs. Canada in hockey would be the only Olympic viewing I'd do. Well, that didn't happen. Watched hockey before and Doc Emerick is so clearly the best game broadcaster in sports, it's not close.