A Michael Carter-Williams trade remains a possibility
Right around June's NBA Draft there were a lot of rumors that the Sixers were looking to potentially trade their reigning Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams. In the never-ending effort to stockpile assets, the Sixers were trying to trade their 2013 lottery pick point guard for another high lottery pick, or so the rumors went.
The Sixers however, due to their copious cap space and willingness to wheel-and-deal, were associated with virtually anyone and everyone around draft day, and it was tough to determine the merit of an individual rumored scenario.
The Carter-Williams trade rumors seemed to be coming to fruition for a moment on draft night, as the Sixers selected Elfrid Payton, a point guard, with their second lottery pick. The 76ers point guard was present at the draft, and after the Payton selection rumors started to swirl around the media floor that Carter-Williams may be in for an awkward experience. The opposite occurred however, as the Sixers shipped Payton to Orlando for the rights to Dario Saric and a future pick; a move that seemingly secured Carter-Williams' spot.
However, according to respected NBA writer Zach Lowe from Grantland, Carter-Williams' spot may not be so secure after all.
Not only does Lowe say that the Sixers "tried hard" to trade Carter-Williams during the draft, he also says that the organization is expected to "repeat the exercise" this season, meaning that they will continue to sniff out deals for the reigning Rookie of the Year.
"They tried hard during the draft [to trade Carter-Williams], but they couldn't draw the trove they envisioned or guarantee that the player they wanted with an acquired pick would be there, per several league sources. Expect Philly to repeat the exercise. It's not a shot at Carter-Williams, or even a signal that the Sixers are dying to trade him. He may well end up a long-term cog in Philly."
In other words, the Sixers aren't itching to move their productive point guard, but he is far from untouchable. If what general manager Sam Hinkie considered to be the right deal came long, the 76ers would pull the trigger.
Lowe credits the replicability of the point guard position as a big factor in any potential move involving Carter-Williams.
"The team knows point guard is the most replaceable position in the league today, and it will seek out any deal that adds to its stockpile of high-value draft picks."
High-value draft picks are all fine and good, but at some point the team will need to build with true talent. After the promise and potential he displayed last season, it seems as though trading Carter-Williams without even providing him the opportunity for an encore would be a curious move.
Carter-Williams showed marked improvement over the course of last season, and he is fully invested in the roster rebuild, even stepping into a leadership role after only a single season. The long, lanky guard from Syracuse also happens to be a fan favorite. To trade all of that away for yet another unknown would be bold, to say the least.
Sam Hinkie has been bold since he took over the reins of the organization's roster rebuild well over a year ago however, so nothing should come as a shock. Carter-Williams may very well continue his career in Philadelphia and blossom with the Sixers as they climb back into contention, but a trade involving him remains a possibility that the organization will consider.