Sixers GM says he never had conversations about acquiring Anthony Bennett

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The Sixers were a late addition to the trade between the Cavaliers and the Timberwolves that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland, but like so many of the team’s moves over the past two seasons, they weren’t looking to get anything in return that might help their chances of winning in the upcoming season.

Philadelphia ended up sending Thaddeus Young, its last remaining veteran talent on the roster, to Minnesota in exchange for Alexey Shved and Luc Mbah a Moute — two players that are expected to remain, but won’t do much in the way of increasing the team’s competitive chances.

It’s worth wondering if the Sixers might have been able to land Anthony Bennett in the deal, the top overall pick in the 2013 draft who underwhelmed in his rookie season, but looked much sharper during this year’s Summer League in Las Vegas. But GM Sam Hinkie said acquiring Bennett wasn’t something that was ever discussed.

From Tom Moore of The Intelligencer:

“I can tell you unequivocally we didn’t have any conversations about (Bennett),” the Sixers’ general manager said during a 30-minute conference call Tuesday.

The Sixers ended up trading veteran forward Thaddeus Young to Minnesota on Saturday for the expiring contracts of Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved, as well as the Heat’s top-10 protected 2015 first-round pick. A deal for Bennett, as well as the Sixers’ interest in him, had been reported earlier this month.

Hinkie called it “a move we think moves our program forward. One (thing) that matters is a first-round pick in the ‘15 draft. That’s important. You don’t see a lot of first-rounders trading hands.”

Essentially, Hinkie valued a future first round pick more than what he believes a previous one in Bennett will ultimately become, and given the team’s current strategy, that makes a significant amount of sense.

While the pick they received is top-10 protected, the Heat should easily be good enough next season to avoid finishing the year as a lottery team. If all goes as planned, this gives the Sixers have another opportunity to swing for the fences in the draft, in hopes of landing a superstar talent that will change the course of the franchise.