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February 17, 2016

NBA trade deadline rumors: Don't panic if the Sixers don't make any big moves

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The 2016 NBA trade deadline is less than 24 hours away, and so far, the Philadelphia 76ers haven't been mentioned in nearly as many rumors as you might expect, given their recent history under general manager Sam Hinkie.

Perhaps some of that has to do with the presence of Jerry Colangelo, who was installed above Hinkie earlier this season and given the title of Chairman of Basketball Operations. It's previously been reported that the Hall of Famer has to sign off on all of the organization's moves, and he's viewed as the guy ownership -- or, according to some, the league -- brought in to help set the course for the Sixers going forward.

“In terms of trade, we’re not actively out there looking to make a trade,” Colangelo said earlier this month. “But you always have to be open."

As we know from recent history, the team isn't adverse to making big changes this time of year. 

More likely, the current roster is making it difficult for the team to have any sort of impactful presence at the deadline. The Sixers lack the veterans that contenders would want to acquire, and the young players they have -- at least the ones other teams would covet -- are likely viewed by those within the organization as building blocks of the future.

For example, the team would have no lack of suitors for rookie center Jahlil Okafor, but trading away their best young player -- without knowing if/when Joel Embiid will ever play again -- makes little sense for the Sixers. One such team, the Miami Heat, who Rich Hofmann wrote about yesterday, reportedly inquired about Okafor. But it apparently stopped there.

If the Sixers indeed remain quiet at the deadline, that could be a good sign for those eager for the tanking to come to an end. It would mean that the front office is done stripping this team for parts and is turning its focus towards rebuilding a machine that actually drives.

Two years ago, Hinkie was wheeling and dealing on deadline day.

Sixers TradeSixers Acquire
• Spencer Hawes
• Evan Turner
• Lavoy Allen
• Conditional 2014 2nd Round Pick
• $16,339,867 in cap
• Earl Clark
• Henry Sims
• Eric Maynor
• Byron Mullens
• Danny Granger
• Cavaliers 2014 2nd Round Pick
• Grizzlies 2014 2nd Round Pick
• Pelicans 2015 2nd Round Pick
• Warriors 2015 2nd Round Pick
• Nuggets 2016 2nd Round Pick
• Clippers 2018 2nd Round Pick
• $21,235,695 in cap


Last year, the Sixers were once again among the most active teams.

Sixers TradeSixers Acquire
• Michael Carter-Williams
• K.J. McDaniels
• Rights to Cenk Akyol
• PG Isaiah Canaan
• JaVale McGee
• T'Wolves OR Nuggets 2015 2nd Round Pick
• Lakers Conditional 2015 1st Round Pick
• Thunder Conditional 2015 1st Round Pick
• Rights to Chu Chu Maduabum


The Sixers have the kind of assets -- future picks and young, inexpensive players -- you want when building a team, and are still years from being a deadline "buyer." They also lack the sorts of pieces -- veteran players on expiring contracts -- that would make them an attractive seller, unless they're willing to part ways with one of their young lottery picks, like they did with Turner in 2014 and Carter-Williams in 2015.

But if the Sixers stand pat at the deadline this time around, it would be the wise thing to do.

The narrative that would follow -- given the stark contrast to how Hinkie's other deadlines have gone -- will likely say Colangelo had a lot to do with the sudden change front office philosophy. And yes, there is certainly a different dynamic there than in previous years -- Colangelo's presence alone guarantees as much -- but that likely won't be the only reason the Sixers stay quite, should they choose that option.


One way in which the Sixers can still be involved, however, is by taking on a bad contract in exchange for draft picks. And according to Keith Pompey of the Inquirer, that could be part of their plan.

The Sixers are currently about $3 million below the salary cap floor, so they have more than enough space to take on some contracts and continue to gather assets without parting ways with much in terms of current talent. 

According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, the Cavaliers are looking to deal Anderson Varejao, who is making $9,638,554 this season and has two more non-guaranteed years left on his contract. And the Sixers, thanks to all that cap space, are among the possible landing spots. 

We'll have much more tomorrow as the clock ticks down to the 2016 NBA trade deadline... 

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin