How Vlade Divac ruined the Trade Deadline

By: Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly Staff

Vlade Divac presented the 76ers with a gift and a cruel joke at the Trade Deadline.

The gift was when Divac traded away Demarcus Cousins, far and away the best player on his roster, to New Orleans.

The Kings' General Manager traded Cousins, along with rotational player Omri Cassipi, to the Big Easy for rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and the Pelicans 2017 first and second round picks.

This return not only made the already below average Kings much worse, but it did not include much in terms of rebuilding the roster.

Buddy Hield is a nice piece with potential, but he has been very inconsistent in his first NBA season so far.The first round pick could pay dividends in a deep draft class, but there is never a guarantee in any draft (here's to you, Anthony Bennett).

Couple the underwhelming return with the fact that the Sixers own the right to swap 2017 first round picks with the Kings, who should place much closer to the top of the lottery than the Sixers, and the Sixers own the Kings' 2019 first round pick as well which also figures to be a high lottery pick. The Sixers own assets that will simultaneously halt the Kings rebuild and bolster their own.

It is not every day that a truly elite player in his youth gets traded, and when that happens it is the General Manager's job to get a strong return. Divac failed miserably, considering two of the pieces in that trade were likely fair value for Omri Cassipi, not to mention Cassipi and Demarcus Cousins packaged together. 

With the Kings prepared to spend the next few seasons in the league's basement, the Sixers' fanbase was busy rejoicing:

Sixers' fans had every right to be excited, but now for the cruel joke, as the next step of The Process was in danger, and nobody saw it coming.

When Divac traded Demarcus Cousins, he destroyed the market for big men. When this trade occured the Sixers not only lost a suitor, but any hope of a significant return. 

Trading a big man had been long overdue for the Sixers, with a glut of players on the roster who played in the frontcourt. Fortunately, the Sixers had enough talented big men to be conceivably move one for a significant piece to fill other holes on the roster.

Jahlil Okafor had been connected to multiple rumors prior to the deadline, and the Cousins trade. The expectation was that the Sixers would be able to acquire a valuable pick and a useful player for the former third overall pick. 

In actuality the Sixers were going to be lucky just to receive one of those items.

Okafor, along with every other big man's value plummeted following Divac's market-setting trade. 

The value sunk so much that the Sixers had to trade their most established big man, Nerlens Noel, for what is widely considered poor value:

The return for Noel was Justin Anderson, a top-18 protected 2017 first round pick (that will become two second round picks), and  a salary dump in the form of Andrew Bogut's contract. 

As noted above, former Sixers' General Manager Sam Hinkie acquired a first round pick just for taking a salary and giving nothing in return aside from the rights to an overseas player. 

Bryan Colangelo surrendered a young, athletic, shot blocking big man for a pick with extreme protection, an undeveloped player, and a salary dump, as the Sixers intend to buy out Andrew Bogut's contract. 

The poor return is correlative with Divac's ineptitude as a General Manager.

If the best big man in the league can be acquired for no extremely valuable pieces or picks, then surely teams around the league felt that they were justified in selling low on the other big men around the league that were available at the trade deadline.

Bryan Colangelo has been drawing the ire of the fanbase following the trade of Noel, however he cannot be entirely blamed. 

Yes, he could have made a deal sooner that would have allowed him to set the market, but then that would have had the opposite effect, allowing the Kings to be entitled to a stronger return for Cousins and the assets that the Sixers currenlty hold would be much less valuable because of it. 

Colangelo did the best that he could following Vlade Divac's obliteration of the trade market, and now the Sixers must rely on the same incompetence that Divac showed at the Trade Deadline during the Kings' rebuild so that the value of their assets continues to grow. 

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