From the jump, that rumor was unlikely to come to fruition. But I thought, if there were one team crazy enough to do it, it’d be Philadelphia.
The 76ers have been historically aggressive in rebuilding/tanking. They’re attempting to assemble a roster full of good players by drafting them while the players they’ve already acquired are still bad enough to land a spot high in the lottery. Soon, Carter-Williams will be good enough to lift them higher in the standings and that window for drafting elite talent will start to close. Maybe the 76ers want to keep it open a little longer – and trading Carter-Williams for a future draft pick would accomplish that.
Plus, it’s possible Carter-Williams’ stock never gets higher. He completely exceed expectations this season, and although some of that is due to Carter-Williams being better than expected, he might be due for a regression to the mean. With three seasons left on his rookie contract, potential trade partners would also covet his low salary.
Long story short, I saw the logic for – and consequently, the possibility of – the 76ers trading him.
Carter-Williams did not.
“I didn’t even pay any attention to it,” Carter-Williams told the WIP morning show on Wednesday. “I have a great relationship with the coaches and the GM here, you know, I’m pretty confident that I’m not going anywhere for a little while. So, yeah, I heard it and I didn’t really pay any attention to it.”
At face value, Carter-Williams’ words don’t mean much. Plenty of players possessing great relationships with their coaches and general manager get traded. The NBA is too cutthroat for those relationships to completely prevent trades.
But there might be an implied extra layer to Carter-Williams’ statement. If his great relationship with Brett Brown and Sam Hinkie meant one of them told him he wouldn’t be traded, Carter-Williams can feel relatively safe. I doubt they’d outright lie to him, though a misinterpretation is possible.
If Carter-Williams is remaining with the 76ers, that means preparing for next season with them. Unfortunately, his shoulder surgery might slow him into July.
Tom Moore of Calkins Media:
Carter-Williams has plenty of time to catch up during training camp, the preseason and even the regular season. It’s doubtful the 76ers are ready to leave the lottery next year – even if they keep Carter-Williams.