Holiday For Noel Trade: An Early Christmas Gift In 2014 For Sixers?
Before May 26, 2012, the night of the 7th and deciding game of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals in Boston, many Philadelphia 76er fans—win or lose— knew that the future would most certainly be bright for a young, fighting roster. That same roster—with the likes of Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Evan Turner, Louis Williams, and Thaddeus Young— shocked the NBA world by beating the #1 seeded Chicago Bulls (without Derrick Rose) in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Then August 10, 2012 came along, and news broke of a blockbuster trade that would shake up the powers of the NBA. A four team trade involving the 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, and Los Angeles Lakers helped Philly land coveted center Andrew Bynum while dealing away Andre Iguodala to Denver along with forward Mo Harkless and center Nikola Vucevic to the Orlando Magic. Seemingly, the 76ers got the better—right?
No, as of July 1, 2013. It’s been all downhill for the 76ers who are in pursuit of possibly rebuilding a completely new roster by using the 2014 NBA Draft as their next destination.
During Thursday night’s NBA Draft at the Barclays Center, the number 11 pick solely belonged to Philadelphia. After the number 6 overall selection of University of Kentucky center Nerlens Noel (regarded as questionable by many for the New Orleans Pelicans) news slowly broke of Noel’s draft rights being traded to Philadelphia for—hold your breath—point guard Jrue Holiday. 76er fans blazed through Twitter, venting their opinions on this kamikaze of moves. Holiday, a 2013 All-Star selection and highly touted ‘best player’ on the 76ers, was not expected to be a trading chip at all. In all likelihood, rumblings of Evan Turner surfaced, but not to this degree. The 76ers landed the Pelicans’ 2014 first round pick in the deal, which is protected from being a top 5 pick. Soon after the trade had been announced, Philadelphia drafted point guard Michael-Carter Williams from Syracuse University.
The 76ers’ new general manager Sam Hinkie boldly hit the reset button on a team that possibly may have been going nowhere anyway, in theory. Holiday was strapped to a $40 million dollar deal and the 76ers removed his cap space while finding his replacement in Williams. Nerlens Noel may be the high risk, high reward chip of them all while coming off a torn ACL injury suffered in February. Noel is unlikely to make any immediate impact for Philadelphia, given time to rest may pay big dividends. The only knock on the 76ers’ part is that he has a similar dilemma to the knee woes of Bynum—the main reason for the 76ers’ fall from grace.
If 76er fans are patient and tolerant of a dismal 2013-2014 NBA season, then karma may come in handy for the 2014 Draft. From some luck of Ping-Pong lottery balls, highly touted Andrew Wiggins could claim Philadelphia to be his new home. Either way, the 2014 NBA Draft has a deep pool of talent not seen in years since 2003 when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony were all selected.