At 3:15 p.m., Evan Turner left the Sixers’ practice facility after the trade deadline had passed, thinking he was going to be a Sixer for at least 27 more games.
As he left for home, Turner told reporters that he was happy to spend the rest of the year with the Sixers, unaware that he had spent his last day as a Sixer.
Just before the 3 p.m. deadline, the Sixers dealt Turner and forward Lavoy Allen to the first-place Indiana Pacers for veteran forward Danny Granger and a 2015 second-round draft pick.
A source has confirmed the deal to CSNPhilly.com's John Gonzalez. It was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and Zach Lowe of Grantland.
Granger is in the last year of a $14 million deal and can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. A former All-Star and 20-points per game scorer for the Pacers, a left knee injury has left Granger as a shell of his former self.
In 29 games for the Pacers this season, Granger is averaging 8.3 points in 22 minutes per game. He appeared in just five games last season.
By dealing Turner, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, the Sixers not only traded their top scorer (17.4 points per game) but also made it clear they had no intention of giving the fourth-year playing a qualifying offer. In the fourth year of his rookie deal, Turner can become a restricted free agent if he was extended the offer.
So by trading Turner and Allen, a free agent at the end of the season, for essentially a second-round pick, the Sixers are rebuilding around rookie Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel and future draft picks.
What is unclear is how Indiana head coach Frank Vogel will use Turner. Indiana’s starting small forward is all-star Paul George. And Lance Stephenson is having a phenomenal season as the Pacers starting two-guard, averaging 14 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists.
Turner can come off the bench as a back up for George and Stephenson, giving the Pacers some scoring punch it was lacking from Granger. Though Turner didn’t enjoy a reserve role during his first two seasons playing for Sixers’ coach Doug Collins, doing it for the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference that also has championship aspirations, could make a reserve role more palatable.
A championship ring would make it all worthwhile.
In the meantime, Turner will be making a trek back to Philadelphia soon when the Pacers come to the Wells Fargo Center on March 14. The Sixers turn around and play at Conseco Fieldhouse March 17.