The shaping of the 76ers took a mind-boggling turn Thursday.
In a series of moves before the 3 p.m. trade deadline, the team parted with the reigning rookie of the year in point guard Michael Carter-Williams and standout rookie shooting guard K.J. McDaniels. In return, they acquired center JaVale McGee, point guard Isaiah Canaan, two protected first-round picks, a second-rounder, and the rights to an overseas player.
Carter-Williams was shipped to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for a protectedtop-five draft pick from the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team deal. If the pick lands within the top five spots at the draft lottery on May 20, the Lakers will keep it for at least another season.
"I can't lie, I'm shocked," Carter-Williams said in a post on Twitter. "I love this city. Thank you for everything. I can honestly say I gave it my all. I wish Philly nothing but the best."
The Sixers sent McDaniels to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Canaan and a second-round pick. The second-rounder would be the lower of the Denver Nuggets' and Minnesota Timberwolves' picks in this draft.
In another move, the Sixers acquired McGee, the rights to Nigerian forward Chukwudiebere Maduabum, and a protected top-18 pick from the Denver Nuggets. The Sixers traded the rights to Turkish guard Cenk Akyol to Denver. The Sixers will receive the 2015 first-round pick that Denver owned via Oklahoma City.
"Michael and K.J. each brought their enormous talents with them to the Sixers," general manager Sam Hinkie said Thursday night in a statement. "Once here, they both flourished within our player-development program, which is a testament to their own work ethic and the dedication of our coaching staff.
"As we move forward, it is important that we continue to be aggressive in the ways in which we build our roster. And sometimes that includes making difficult decisions in order to further our goal of building something special for Philadelphia."
After the flurry of deals, the Sixers could have four first-round picks and five second-round selections in June's draft - although it's unlikely because of the two protected picks.
In addition to having their own first-rounder, the Sixers have the Miami Heat's protected top-10 pick to go along with the protected first-rounders they picked up Thursday.
"That's the man upstairs working, Sam Hinkie," center Nerlens Noel said Thursday, unaware that Carter-Williams and McDaniels would be dealt."He's solidifying what we've got to get in the future to help us."
For now, the Sixers (12-41) will re-sign point guard Tim Frazier to another 10-day contract to provide immediate help at point guard.
Frazier and Canaan are the only healthy point guards on the roster with Carter-Williams' departure.
Carter-Williams was the team's leading active scorer at 15 points per game. His 7.4 assists per game rank eighth in the NBA, but he also is averaging 4.2 turnovers.
The second-year player out of Syracuse let his frustration get the best of him on occasion. Two of his biggest outbursts came in road losses to the Dallas Mavericks on Nov. 13 and the Thunder on March 4, 2013.
Carter-Williams' frustration was visible in the second half of a 53-point drubbing by the Mavs. On one play, he did not get back on defense and coach Brett Brown yelled at him. The coach then approached the player during a stoppage. Carter-Williams appeared to point to the scoreboard as a way to say, "Coach, look at the score."
Brown walked away, and assistant coach Lloyd Pierce talked to Carter-Williams, who was playing his first game after offseason surgery on his right shoulder.
During a 33-point blowout in Oklahoma City last season, Jeremy Lamb blew past Carter-Williams for an easy layup. Brown immediately got on his point guard. Carter-Williams, in turn, gestured back at his coach.
Moments later, Brown called him over for a discussion. Carter-Williams appeared disturbed that his coach called him over. He even stepped away from Brown toward the court before the two resumed their discussion.
McDaniels did not accept the Sixers' four-year, partially guaranteed deal at the beginning of the season. Instead, the former Clemson standout accepted a one-year deal for less money that would have made him a restricted free agent at season's end. The 22-year-old rookie is averaging 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 1.3 assists.
McDaniels' mother, Shawn, said her son was shocked at the news.
"He put so much into that city and he loved it there," she said, "and the fans loved him. They really had intentions on rebuilding. That was a perfect building block there.
"For them to make a trade like that, I'm not going to say anything about another player, but building on what they have, it's about to be catastrophic there. That's not going to be fair to the fans. K.J. is going to be fine."
McGee is making $11.25 million this season and will make $12 million next season.
The 7-foot, 240-pounder was sidelined most of last season because of a stress fracture in his left tibia. He has played in only 17 games this season because of injury and illness. He is averaging 5.2 points and 2.8 rebounds in 11 minutes per game this season. McGee could be bought out, making him a free agent.
A 6-footer, Canaan averaged 6.2 points and 1.2 assists in 25 games this season. He was Ohio Valley Conference player of the year at Murray State in 2012-13.
"My faith and belief in Sam has been spoken many times," said Brown, who publicly supports the GM's decisions. "I have faith in Sam. I say this is his time - trade deadline. We talk all the time. It's shared communication."
To say that Sam Hinkie is remaking the 76ers might be the greatest understatement in the history of Philadelphia sports. Here's a look at his most consequential trades before Thursday's succession of moves:
June 27, 2013
Sixers get: Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round draft pick from the New Orleans Pelicans
Give: Jrue Holiday and a second-round pick in the 2013 draft
The skinny: On draft day, Hinkie acquired a prospective defensive stalwart in Noel for Holiday, an all-star point guard.
Feb. 20, 2014
Get: Henry Sims, Earl Clark, and two second-round picks from the Cleveland Cavaliers
Give: Spencer Hawes
The skinny: Hawes had been a productive power forward/center for the Sixers, and based on the meager return in this deal, it's fair to wonder if Hinkie waited too long to move him.
Feb. 20, 2014
Get: Danny Granger and a second-round pick from the Indiana Pacers
Give: Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen
The skinny: This was the other major trade that the Sixers made at last year's deadline. Granger never suited up for the Sixers. But then, Turner didn't help the Pacers all that much, either.
June 26, 2014
Get: The draft rights to Dario Saric, a first-round pick, and a second-round pick from the Orlando Magic
Give: The draft rights to Elfrid Payton
The skinny: Payton is averaging fewer than eight points a game for the Magic this season. Meanwhile, Hinkie got Saric - the Sixers are waiting for him to play out his contract in Turkey - and the first-round pick that the team had surrendered in the Andrew Bynum trade.
Aug. 22, 2014
Get: Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved from the Minnesota Timberwolves and a first-round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers
Give: Thaddeus Young
The skinny: Young was owed close to $19 million over the last two seasons of his contract, and because Hinkie didn't consider him part of the Sixers' long-term core, off Young went to Minnesota. That Mbah a Moute has mentored Joel Embiid made him a more attractive piece.
- Mike SielskiEndText