Let's start with this: The Sixers did not need to trade Nerlens Noel.
They could have kept him through the end of the season, made him an offer in restricted free agency and decide whether or not to match another team's offer sheet.
The Sixers held the cards. If a team like Portland or Dallas were to offer Noel $17 million a year or something this offseason, the Sixers could have either matched or let him walk.
If they chose not to match, they'd lose Noel for nothing.
So, given the return, the only explanation for Thursday's deadline trade of Noel to the Mavericks was that the Sixers definitively concluded they did not want to match a high salary for Noel.
Either that or they just really, really love Justin Anderson.
The trade was initially sold as Noel to Dallas for Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and a protected first-round pick.
In reality, the trade is Noel for Anderson and two second-round picks.
Bogut wants to be a free agent and will either be traded or bought out, according to multiple reports. So forget about him.
The 2017 first-round pick? It's top-18 protected, meaning the Sixers would get it only if the Mavericks pick 19 to 30. The Mavs currently own the NBA's seventh-worst record, so it would take a miracle for them to win enough games to decrease their draft stock that much.
If the pick does not convey in 2017 — and again, it's not happening — the Sixers instead get Dallas' second-round picks in 2017 and 2018.
So, yeah ... it's Noel for Anderson and a pair of seconds.
Ersan Ilyasova netted the Sixers two seconds. The only difference between that trade and this trade? Justin Anderson.
The expectation now, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, is that Jahlil Okafor will stay with the Sixers. It seems like they were just so uninspired by offers they received for Okafor that they instead looked to trade another big for value.
But in this case, they didn't get value for Noel. They got the perception of value.
Unless Justin Anderson becomes a better player than Nik Stauskas or Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.