Grading the 76ers Trade Deadline moves

By: Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly Staff

The expectations were high at the Trade Deadline for general manager Bryan Colangelo as the Sixers begin to transition from a perennial lottery team to a playoff contender.

Colangelo's focus was on the frontcourt, with the Sixers' abundance of big men well documented and the rumors seemingly neverending. 

Colangelo made two trades at the deadline, turning heads with one of them, and seeing the frontcourt become less crowded to open up opportunities for some of the younger players.

Trade #1:

Philadelphia 76ers Receive: F Tiago Splitter, Option to swap lesser of Sixers 2017 Second Round Picks with Atlanta's 2017 Second Round Pick, Miami's #31-40 protected 2017 Second Round Pick (Unprotected in 2018 if it does not convey)

Atlanta Hawks Receive: F Ersan Ilyasova

Colangelo's first deal looks complicated on the surface, but the thinking is quite simple: Dario Saric is ready to start, and Ilyasova is in his way. 

Ilyasova is enjoying a career year in Philadelphia, but he was likely never going to factor into the Sixers long term plans. Colangelo was smart to move Ilyasova, and receive value for him instead of letting him walk for nothing. 

Tiago Splitter, like Ilyasova, is in the final year of his deal and makes $8.5 million dollars to Ilyasova's $8.4 million. Colangelo essentially takes on no additional salary and adds another draft pick instead of letting Ilyasova leave and getting nothing in return for the stretch four. 

The most important part of this trade is that the door has been swung wide open for Dario Saric to show what he can do until the end of the season.

Saric had already begun to take Ilyasova's minutes late in games, and his averages have jumped from 10.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game to 16.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in his last 10.

Richaun Holmes is also likely to see an increased role with Saric expected to move to the starting lineup and the newly acquired Tiago Splitter being injured.

Colangelo accomplished a lot with this trade, making room for Saric and Holmes to continue their development by giving them more minutes and getting another asset for an expiring contract.

Grade: A-

Trade #2:

Philadelphia 76ers Receive: C Andrew Bogut, F Justin Anderson, 2017 Top 18 Protected 1st Round Pick (Becomes 2nd round picks in 2017 and 2018 if it does not convey)

Dallas Mavericks Receive: C Nerlens Noel

The Sixers finally moved a center, but it was not the one that everyone expected to see traded.

After all of the rumors surrounding Jahlil Okafor at the Trade Deadline, it is Nerlens Noel who will be leaving the City of Brotherly Love.

Noel had become the favorite of the fans between the two centers because of his elite rim protecting ability and athleticism. Okafor, not known for either of those traits, was the player fans were ready to say goodbye to.

Noel quietly put together impressive numbers in his tenure in Philadelphia, as Joe Giglio of 94 WIP noted;

 

The Sixers received veteran big man Andrew Bogut, who they are expected to part ways through a buyout, second year swingman Justin Anderson, and a top-18 protected first round pick.

The pick protection is the worst part of this deal. The Mavericks currently would pick in the top 10 of the draft, and the likelihood of the first round pick conveying is low. Colangelo did not back up the protection with less limited first round protections in following years, instead taking a second round pick in 2017 and 2018 if the pick does not convey.

Justin Anderson, the 21st overall pick in 2015 is a very good perimeter defender who struggled to get on the floor in Dallas, averaging 13.9 minutes per game with 6.5 points and 2.9 rebounds. Anderson will get a shot at more playing time under Brett Brown, but there is no guarantee that he becomes more than a defensive specialist.

After months of Colangelo claiming he would not trade a big man just to trade a big man, and that it had to be the right deal, it is hard to imagine that this was the right deal. 

Noel is seen across the league as an elite paint protector, and two second round picks, a question mark, and a salary dump do not add up to his value.

Donnie Nelson deserves an A+ for this trade, but Bryan Colangelo deserves an F.

Grade: F

Review:

Bryan Colangelo made one savvy move, and one move that makes fans scratch their head. Fans will not be sure what to expect moving forward from the general manager between his disparity in success with these two trades, and his poor communication with the media.

The Ilyasova-type deals are how you build a team, but the Noel-type deals are how you self destruct.

Colangelo showed why he comes with such great esteem in his first deal. The team can continue to grow with more room in the frontcourt, and based on the strides made this year we can expect good results, but at the end of the day, Colangelo gave up more value than he brought in, especially in the second deal. There is some optimism in Colangelo's moves, but there is also a bigger question mark.

Final Grade: C-

Notes:

There were multiple reports attached to the Sixers after their final trade, with both reports coming from Adrian Wojnarowski:

Wojnarowski reported that the Sixers were attempting to get a guard to play alongside Ben Simmons, solidifying Ben Simmons as the team's point guard moving forward.

It is a little surprising to see the team committing to building around Simmons as the point guard before they have even seen him play a game at the position, or in the NBA, for that matter.

Wojnarowski reported another interesting bit of Sixers news: 

Coming as a surprise, The Sixers were reportedly searching to move Jahlil Okafor after they had already traded Nerlens Noel to Dallas. 

This contradicted Wojnarowski's earlier report where he wrote:

"Trading Noel, 22, likely means the 76ers will retain Jahlil Okafor to play alongside cornerstone Joel Embiid."

Wojnarowski's claim that the Sixers were still looking to move Okafor came mere minutes before the 3 p.m. Trade Deadline. 

These reports could give insight to the Sixers plans moving forward.