Sixers turning heads against strong teams
Evan Turner (right) and Spencer Hawes will be free agents after this season. (AP)
When the Bulls’ Derrick Rose, Warriors’ Andre Iguodala and Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol all went out with injuries last weekend, there was some speculation that Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie would get a few phone calls.
Because his team is in a rebuilding mode and two of his three veterans are playing particularly well, Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Thad Young could be attractive players to those contending teams.
Though all three players are expected to return, no one is quite sure when that will be. Plus, league sources said the Sixers actively shopped Turner and Young during the offseason.
Why would that change now?
There are a lot of reasons why Turner, Hawes or Young won’t be moved during the season, and it all gets back to the contracts.
Turner and Hawes will be free agents at the end of the season, which means a midseason deal could make those guys nothing more than rentals for a couple of months with no guarantee they will re-sign. Plus, Turner and Hawes offer a rebuilding program two valuable assets in that there are no strings attached beyond this season.
Though both players are off to the best seasons of their respective careers, the value for them isn’t necessarily what they give in performance or what they can fetch in a trade. Sometimes it’s the expiring contract that teams want. It keeps the power in the hands of the team that owns them.
Besides, what team will give up assets for Turner or Hawes and then watch them walk away in free agency? Unless the team is desperate or all-in for a championship run, trades for players like Turner or Hawes — particularly with their skill sets — are unnecessary gambles.
Young, on the other hand, is owed approximately $19 million and two years after this season, which means the Sixers would have to take the equivalent back in a trade.
Needless to say, the Sixers aren’t looking to add more contracts or payroll.
The trade deadline is still months away, so there is plenty of time for things to change. But in the short term, don’t expect any of the Sixers’ veterans to be going anywhere any time soon.
On the docket
The Sixers have a rare Monday night off but get back at it on Wednesday night when they go to Orlando to face the Magic.
Orlando is led by former Sixer Nik Vucevic, who is averaging 14.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game and lit up the Clippers for 30 points and 21 rebounds on Nov. 6.
The Magic also have the Sixers’ 2012 first-round draft pick, Moe Harkless, who has worked his way into the starting lineup with 8.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
And then there's Chester, Pa., native and St. Joe’s alum Jameer Nelson. In his 10th NBA season, Nelson could be the player the Bulls keep close tabs on depending on the severity of Rose’s knee injury.
Next Friday, former Sixer Jrue Holiday and the New Orleans Pelicans make their lone visit to Philadelphia this season. Holiday’s scoring is down to 15.5 points per game this season, but he is dishing out 8.2 assists per night.
Following the game against the Pelicans, the Sixers play 11 of their next 16 games on the road.