Sam Hinkie, the 76ers' new general manager and president of basketball operations, orchestrated his first bold move on a night Sixers fans will remember for some time.
The Sixers traded all-star point guard Jrue Holiday and acquired the rights to Nerlens Noel, the sixth overall pick, in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans during Thursday night's NBA draft. The Sixers also received the Pelicans' 2014 first-round pick, which is protected from picks one through five, for one of their second-round picks (42d) in Thursday's draft.
There was potentially other big news as well. The New York Daily News said that the Sixers were poised to hire San Antonio Spurs assistant Brett Brown as their coach. However, the San Antonio Express-News later said that Brown had not even interviewed for the job. Both reports cited anonymous sources.
Hinkie denied hiring Brown and did not directly discuss the trade early Friday. He did, however, admit that he had to make a "gut-wrenching call" on Thursday night.
Fifteen minutes after trading Holiday, the team nabbed Noel's close friend Michael Carter-Williams with the 11th overall pick. Then, in the second round, the Sixers traded their 35th pick to Washington to acquire Nate Wolters, a point guard from South Dakota State, with the 38th pick, and the Wizards' 54th pick.
There were reports late Thursday night that the Sixers had traded Wolters for the Milwaukee Bucks' 43d pick, Ricky Ledo, a shooting guard from Providence. They reportedly turned around and traded Ledo to the Dallas Mavericks for future considerations. The Sixers did not confirm the reports.
With the 54th pick, Washington selected Oregon forward Arsalan Kazemi for the Sixers.
None of the trades had been finalized as of early Friday morning.
Noel, a 6-foot-11, 206-pounder who left Kentucky after one season, was a candidate for the first overall pick before slipping to sixth. He and Carter-Williams grew up together in Massachusetts and were AAU teammates.
"It's like a dream come true," Carter-Williams, a point guard out of Syracuse, said about playing with Noel. "We always talked about how we were both going to make it to the NBA. For us to end up on the same team is a blessing."
But in the process, the Sixers parted ways with the face of their team.
Holiday averaged a career-best in points (17.7) and assists (eight) in his fourth season in the NBA.
This is also a cap-friendly move for the summer of 2014. By getting rid of Holiday's scheduled $11 million deal, the Sixers could have as much as $36 million available to sign free agents next summer.
The trade could give the Sixers two first-round picks next year. The pick they traded to Miami in the Arnett Moultrie deal is lottery-protected.
Trading for Noel is considered a huge risk.
He won't be ready to play until December at the earliest after suffering a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear in his left knee. Before that, Noel was having an outstanding campaign, averaging 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 4.4 blocked shots while shooting 59 percent from the field. He had a school-record 12 blocked shots against Mississippi last season.
Carter-Williams, who left Syracuse after his sophomore season, averaged 11.9 points, 7.3 assists, and 4.9 rebounds this past season.