Breaking down the Sixers' wild deadline day

thad-young-by-himself-sixers-ap.jpg

Breaking down the Sixers' wild deadline day

Grab a pen and a notepad. We’ll go through what the Sixers did at the trade deadline in an attempt to connect the dots. There are many, many dots.

Remember when we all thought draft night was an indecipherable blur? That evening was fully focused by comparison. Sam Hinkie made moves on Thursday. The Sixers' president and general manager does not mess around.

Trade 1
The Sixers began by sending Spencer Hawes to Cleveland in exchange for forward Earl Clark, center Henry Sims and two second-round picks in the 2014 draft (one from Cleveland, the other from Memphis that the Cavaliers acquired in a previous deal).

Hawes will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Clark, according to a source, has already been waived. He had a team option for next year. Sims is on a non-guaranteed deal and likely won't return either. So basically, the Sixers were left with two extra second-round picks. They started the day with three second-round picks, bringing their total for the 2014 draft to five second-round picks. That’s a lot, but the Sixers weren’t done.

Also, the Sixers saved a little money in the Cavs deal and dropped to about $13.4 million below the salary cap, which became significant in their next move.

Trade 2
The Sixers were involved in a three-way trade with the Nuggets and the Wizards. The Nuggets sent Andre Miller to Washington in exchange for Jan Vesely. Meanwhile, the Sixers landed point guard Eric Maynor from the Wizards, along with a 2015 second-round pick from the Pelicans (via the Wizards) and the Nuggets' 2016 second-round pick.

You may wonder what the Sixers gave up in the deal. The answer: A little bit of cap space. The money they already had available, combined with the extra money they cleared in Trade 1 with Cleveland, allowed the Sixers to essentially serve as middlemen and help facilitate the deal between the Wizards and Nuggets.

The reason they did so: The 2015 and 2016 picks are particularly valuable to the Sixers because they could very likely help pay off the debt they owe for acquiring Arnett Moultrie. For more on how that would work, read this. The Sixers acquired a second 2015 second-round pick from the Pacers in Trade 4 (see below).

As for Maynor, he has a player option for next year at $2.1 million. He’s going to pick it up because, hey, money. No biggie. It’s a tiny contract and the Sixers already have a lot of money available next year as you’ll see as we continue the exercise.

Trade 3
The Sixers sent a conditional second-round pick –- meaning they’ll place stipulations on it that will likely make it a late-draft selection –- to the Clippers in exchange for center Byron Mullens and a second-round draft pick in 2018.

Mullens has a player option for next season at $1.06 million. As with Maynor, this is no big deal. The Sixers could always trade Maynor and/or Mullens. (Hinkie likes to trade people.) If not, ah well. They have to pay someone to play basketball, and these guys are cheap.

Trade 4
This was the one everyone waited for (even though the trade partner hadn’t been pre-reported by anyone and came as a surprise): The Sixers sent Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen to the Indiana Pacers for Danny Granger and Golden State's second-round pick in 2015. That trade was first reported by Yahoo! Sports and Grantland and then confirmed by CSNPhilly.com.

Had the Sixers kept Turner, a former second overall pick, they would have had to extend an $8.7 million qualifying offer in the offseason if they wanted to make him a restricted free agent. They clearly did not want to make him a restricted free agent. Turner obviously didn’t figure into the Sixers' future in any form. If the Sixers hadn’t moved him, Turner would have walked after becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Allen and Granger will also be unrestricted free agents after this year. Either way, the Sixers were going to clear that money for next season. That is, they weren’t going to pay Turner and Allen, and now they won’t pay Granger. So why do it?

Forget about Allen and Granger. Basically, the Sixers flipped Turner for yet another second-round pick. Given where that pick is likely to fall (at the very end of the second round since the Pacers are a top-tier team), that’s basically the absolute minimum the Sixers could have fetched for Turner. Part of that reduced price is because teams probably figured they could make a run at Turner in the offseason and give up only money to land him instead of also surrendering a pick. But part of that is also because the market didn’t value Turner very highly. The idea that Turner could have been flipped for a first-round pick was always a fallacy.

The bottom line
So where does all this maneuvering leave the Sixers?

Three players went out (Hawes, Turner and Allen) and five four came in (Clark, Sims, Maynor, Mullens and Granger). The Sixers also acquired two second-round picks for 2014, two second-round picks for 2015, one second-round pick for 2016, and one second-round pick for 2018. And they figure to have a ton of cap space moving forward, as expected.

About the picks: If that seems like a lot of second-rounders, it is. But the Sixers almost certainly won't use them all. As mentioned above, one of the 2015 and 2016 second-rounders will likely pay off the Moultrie debt. The others can be alternately employed to select players or included in future deals. As everyone learned today, second-round picks are a type of NBA currency that sometimes help trades get done. The Sixers have accrued quite a bit of that currency.

As for the cap space: If Jason Richardson (who has a player option for $6.6 million next season), Maynor and Mullens all opt in next year –- and they almost certainly will, because who passes up on money? -– the Sixers will still be in great shape. Including those three, they’d have about $27 million in salary commitments. That’s not counting cap holds and what they’ll have to pay future picks and such. Ballparking it here, the Sixers should be around $30 million under the cap as they start to move more pieces around the board this offseason. That’s a lot.

The NBA is about flexibility. The Sixers had options before Thursday’s trade deadline. Now they have even more.

Ben Simmons healing on schedule; Joel Embiid out tonight; Jahlil Okafor downgraded

Ben Simmons healing on schedule; Joel Embiid out tonight; Jahlil Okafor downgraded

Ben Simmons had a planned foot scan Monday in New York and is progressing as expected.

Simmons suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot nearly four months ago, Sept. 30, and there is still no timetable for his NBA debut.

Okafor downgraded
Jahlil Okafor was limited at shootaround Tuesday and has been downgraded to questionable for tonight's game against the Clippers. He had been listed as probable on Monday.

Okafor is dealing with right knee soreness he experienced on Saturday. The Sixers kept an eye on him Monday and held him out of 5-on-5 drills in practice. Okafor said the team was being cautious, and he wanted to rest his knee given the number of games coming up.

"It was bothering me a little bit in the warmup lines, I started to feel it. When I got going, it started feeling really good, then when I sat out for an extended period, it got kind of sore on me again," Okafor said Monday.

Embiid out
Joel Embiid, dealing with a left knee contusion suffered in last Friday's win over Portland, is officially out tonight. He is also expected to miss Wednesday's game at Milwaukee before returning Friday vs. the Rockets.

Sixers-Clippers 5 things: Big men, minus Joel Embiid, in the spotlight

Sixers-Clippers 5 things: Big men, minus Joel Embiid, in the spotlight

The Sixers (15-27) on Tuesday night open their latest back-to-back set against the LA Clippers (30-16) at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m./CSN, CSNPhilly.com and streaming live on the NBC Sports app).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Missing in action
The Sixers are used to missing Joel Embiid for at least one game of back-to-back sets. However, they will have to forge ahead without him in both contests coming up on consecutive days.

Embiid will miss the Sixers' games on Tuesday and Wednesday after suffering a left knee contusion in the team's 93-92 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. The matchups will mark three straight absences for the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after he was sidelined for the Sixers' blowout loss in Atlanta Saturday.

The Sixers haven't exactly been able to survive without Embiid's production this season. They are 2-10 minus the Rookie of the Year frontrunner and have allowed 106.5 points in those games.

Brett Brown challenged his team to perform better — particularly on defense — during this upcoming stint without Embiid.

“It’s still about our defense, it’s still about running, it’s still about sharing the ball,” Brown said after practice Monday. “I think you go with Jahlil (Okafor) and Nerlens (Noel) and challenge them in relation to rim protection and what Joel provides us. The group around them also has got to perform at a higher level when you don’t have Joel. I think that second group that we have been playing, led by Nerlens, really can take on a far greater defensive identity than it has recently, and Nerlens will be the captain of that.”

2. The Blake Show is back
While the Sixers will be without their star big man in Tuesday's tilt, the Clippers are expected to get one of theirs back.

Blake Griffin is likely to return to action against the Sixers after missing 18 games following right knee surgery.

Griffin was averaging 21.2 points and 8.8 rebounds this season as the Clippers jumped out to a 20-6 record. Griffin underwent an arthroscopic procedure to remove loose bodies from the knee on Dec. 19, and the Clips have recorded just a 10-8 mark since.

With fellow superstar Chris Paul sidelined with an injured thumb, getting the five-time All-Star Griffin back should be a major boost for the Clippers.

3. Take care
The Clippers may not be the force they once were in the open court (15th in the NBA with 12.7 fastbreak points per game this season), but that doesn't mean they still can't revert to their Lob City ways in the blink of an eye.

That could be the case on Tuesday if the Sixers continue to turn the ball over at such an alarming rate.

The Sixers, last in the league with 17.1 turnovers per game, have somehow been even worse during this recent string of success. They have committed 19.4 turnovers a night over the last five games and 17.8 during the last 10 contests.

The Sixers have been able to survive thanks to their active defense creating opportunities on offense and some clutch shooting. However, with Embiid sidelined and facing a Clippers team that ranks in the top five in field-goal and three-point percentage, those miscues may come back to haunt the Sixers.

4. Injuries
Okafor (knee) is probable. Embiid (knee), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

Griffin (knee) is probable. Paul (thumb) and Brice Johnson (back) are out for the Clippers.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost nine straight games to the Clippers.

• Ersan Ilyasova is averaging 17.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game during January.

• DeAndre Jordan has averaged a double-double of 11.3 points and 12.8 rebounds against the Sixers in his career.