Updated 12:59 p.m.
The Sixers made another move to trade one of their bigs, and no, for the second-straight day it wasn’t Jahlil Okafor. Yet.
Ersan Ilyasova was dealt on Wednesday for Tiago Splitter’s expiring deal and a second round pick, and while there is still talk that Okafor could be packaged in a trade before the 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo decided to trade Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks for…some stuff.
Justin Anderson is a 6-6 swingman in his second year in the league after being taken in the late first round by Dallas in 2015. He’s a career 40.4 percent shooter, with an effective field goal percentage of 46.9, but in 106 career games he’s only averaging 5.1 points and less that 3 rebounds, getting just under 13 minutes per game.
The Sixers also got Andrew Bogut — and his expiring contract — and a first round pick that certainly won’t convey this year, what with Dallas undoubtedly falling into the lottery. The protection for that pick in subsequent years hasn’t yet been reported. (Update: yes it has. And it’s not great.)
The Sixers announced late Thursday that the pick from Dallas is a top-18 protected pick this year, that will convey as 2017 and 2020 second-round picks. Somehow, that’s even worse.
Noel, who went through part of practice Thursday, was slated to be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, so it’s clear Colangelo had no plans to match whatever deal Noel was going to be offered on the open market.
Since the start of the season, Noel didn’t seem like he was long for Philly, getting what the team called “elective surgery” then rehabbing his injury in Alabama, not with the team. When he returned from injury, he was benched, then shopped publicly before finding his form and making his way back onto the court as the team started to win. It seems that may have been an effort to shop him even more, as the deal is, sadly, about the best the Sixers could get for a guy who will undoubtedly test his value on the open market now.
Reports indicate the Mavs have been high on Noel for a while, and expect to attempt to re-sign him to keep him as part of their long-term plans. As for Bogut, he won’t even get on the plane to Philly.
The last few weeks had people excited for the notion of seeing Noel and Joel Embiid together, as the duo could protect the rim like few others in the league. Alas, after giving the Okafor-Embiid tag team a try, the Sixers won’t have the chance to do the same for Embiid and Noel.
As with Ilyasova’s trade — he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season — Colangelo obviously didn’t see Noel in the team’s future and got what he could for him, given the short nature of his remaining contract. It’s not a good trade from a basketball standpoint, even with a future first round pick coming back, but it’s the deal Colangelo got for a guy he clearly didn’t really like.
Noel is a fantastic rim protector, but his limited offensive skills — his close-to-mid-range jumper is better this season than in previous years, but not by NBA standards good — made him more expendable for the Sixers. Expect Richaun Holmes to get more time with the second unit now, as he has shown a similar explosiveness in his limited time over the last two seasons.
Also know…the Sixers probably aren’t done.
Update: More not great news!