Sixers GM says rare availability of high lottery pick is what motivated him to trade Michael Carter-Williams

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The Sixers made a couple of trades right as Thursday’s deadline came to a close, and as usual, the moves were about the future more than they were about improving in the present.

Philadelphia traded reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams to the Bucks, as part of a three-team deal that netted the Sixers the Lakers’ (top-five protected) 2015 first round draft pick that was owed to the Suns.

Carter-Williams still needs to develop, but has already shown he’s capable of being an NBA-caliber starting point guard. It was curious, then, to see the Sixers hit the reset button once more, but GM Sam Hinkie said that the rare availability of a high lottery pick was simply too tempting to pass up.

From John Finger of CSN Philly:

What got Hinkie to release his grip on Carter-Williams was the chance to get the Lakers’ top-5 protected first-round pick. At 13-40, the Lakers are headed for the lottery this June. Looking at it linearly, the Sixers gave up the No. 11 pick of the 2013 draft for possibly the No. 6 pick in the 2015 draft. Then it’s top-3 protected the next two years, then unprotected after that.

Was it worth it?

“It is impossibly hard to get your hands on a pick that at least has the chance to be a high lottery pick,” Hinkie said. “It’s very rare that they move and because of that, we considered it and decided it was the best way to move our program forward.” …

“It’s not about Michael at all. I think Michael has a very bright future in this league, and I think will do quite well and we wish him the best,” Hinkie explained. “It’s still necessary for someone to look at the tough decisions we have to make to try to move our program forward.”

Carter-Williams has struggled with his shot in his first season-plus, which may be the underlying reason Hinkie pulled the trigger this quickly.

From Tom Moore of Calkins Media:

Hinkie: ‘For us to be among the best teams, you have to be able to shoot from 3.’

Carter-Williams simply can’t do that yet; his field goal percentage has dropped since last year, and he’s currently at just 38 percent for the season, which includes a mark of only 25.6 percent from three-point distance.

Meanwhile, the K.J. McDaniels trade to the Rockets may be even more frustrating for Sixers fans to deal with. McDaniels is a superb athlete and a legitimate defensive presence, and the type of player on a reasonable contract that a team would seem to want to rebuild around. And yet, he was dealt for nothing more than a point guard in Isaiah Canaan and a future second round pick.

“We traded K.J., who we are proud of, who we got in the 30s and we got back a mid-30s in the past and a mid-30s in the future,” Hinkie said. “In the end it came down to a trade we felt we had to do and it came down to the last four minutes.”

That’s just plain weird; Hinkie made a point of saying during his press conference that he’s “never in my life called a player an asset,” but when looking at them solely in terms of their draft position, it’s hard to believe that’s actually the case.

At some point, Philadelphia will need to begin developing the talent they have, instead of constantly searching for an upgrade by trading talented players for future draft picks; the team’s fans (and ownership) are likely to only be patient with this process for so long.

Arizona State leading scoring Remy Martin declares for 2020 NBA Draft

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Arizona State junior Remy Martin has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft:

The six-foot point guard took on more of scoring role in his third season with the Sun Devils than he had in his first two seasons. Martin averaged 19.1 points per game on 43.2% shooting from the field. Martin also dished out 4.1 assists per game, after averaging 5.0 assists as a sophomore.

Arizona State’s leading scoring may just be testing the waters, as he’s expected to go undrafted. NBA scouts have concerns over Martin’s size at the NBA level. One concern is his ability to hold up defensively, as NBA point guards are trending bigger and bigger in recent years.

As a smaller guard, Martin was one of the players who could have benefited from the traditional pre-draft process. With in-person workouts on hold, and potentially cancelled entirely, players have limited opportunities to improve their draft stock. Teams may be drafting off previous in-person scouting and off of tape.

NBA players reportedly to take part in televised NBA 2K tournament Friday

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If we can’t watch NBA players on the court, at least we can watch them control their digital selves and teammates in a live basketball tournament.

ESPN plans to broadcast an NBA 2K tournament with only NBA players at the controllers, a story broken by Chris Haynes at Yahoo Sports. The hope is to have it air Friday, with the players competing from their homes around the country.

The NBA is planning a players-only NBA 2K tournament that will feature the league’s sharpest video gamers and it will be broadcast on ESPN, league sources told Yahoo Sports…

Players competing against their peers in the comfort of their own homes could offer a distraction for fans who are missing the game and a little competition.

Esports are incredibly popular and growing as a spectator sport, both in person and on Twitch and other platforms. With there being a pent-up demand for sports programming, this seems a smart attempt to draw eyeballs. Even people who are non-esports viewers could tune in just to check it out, because it’s that or rewatching Tiger King.

You can bet that if it works, we will see a lot more of it in the future.

(Inside baseball note: I would love to see the emails/texts flying around ESPN about Yahoo breaking a story about what is coming in their network.)

 

Shaquille O’Neal: I had no idea what was happening with Joe Exotic of Tiger King

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On a recent episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq” former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal said that “he had no idea” what was happening at the zoo run by Joe Exotic. Joe Exotic was recently made famous through the popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness”.

Footage of O’Neal appeared in the first episode of the show and was shown taking photographs with the animals.

The documentary also showed a cut of O’Neal on TNT saying “Shoutout to Exotic Joe. I got two more tigers.”

On his podcast, O’Neal explained:

“So we go in there, and it’s a beautiful place, and the character that was there was Exotic Joe. We’re there and I dropped some donations for the tigers’ foods and all that. We take pictures with (the) tigers. We went back a couple times. Then we go back another time and we found out that he’s involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going.”

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, was sentenced to 22 years in prison after being found guilty of 19 different charges. Those charges included murder-for-hire plot, illegally selling endangered species and other animal-related offenses.

O’Neal clarified that he never bought any animals, but often donates to charities that help animals. He also made it clear that he’s not friends with Joe Exotic, nor anyone involved in the trade of endangered species.

“I don’t harm tigers,” O’Neal said. “I love tigers. I love white tigers. Do I put donations to these zoos to help these tigers out? I do it all the time. Do I own tigers personally at my house? No. But I love tigers. Listen, people are going to make their own opinions, but, again, I was just a visitor. I met this guy — not my friend. Don’t know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on.”

Report: Brooklyn Nets looking to hire a blue-chip head coach

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When the Brooklyn Nets and Kenny Atkinson parted ways in early-March, the team installed Jacque Vaughn as the interim head coach.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that’s a short-term appointment. On his podcast “Brian Windhorst and The Hoop Collective”, the reporter said the Nets are looking to hire a coach with a track record of NBA success.

“One of the things that has been expressed sort of the grapevine, that’s the way I’m going to say it to protect myself from the aggregators, is that Durant and Irving would like a blue-chip coach. I don’t know what this says about the way they thought about Atkinson, but they want a big-name coach.”

Names linked to the Brooklyn opening are Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson, and both Jeff and Stan Van Gundy.

Atkinson leaving Brooklyn was a surprise, considering he had led the Nets back to the playoffs in 2019. That success came after a three-year rebuild. That process was kicked off when general manager Sean Marks hired Atkinson to lead the on-court development. Under Marks and Atkinson, the Nets developed several players who had been given up on by other teams.

Brooklyn was 28-34 when Atkinson was let go. The Nets had gone 2-0 under Vaughn before the NBA suspended play in mid-March.