A Philadelphia 76ers trade has been completed with the Atlanta Hawks just hours before the 2017 NBA trade deadline. The deal doesn’t include Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, or Nerlens Noel, though, so 76ers fans can breathe a sigh of relief.
A report by NBC Sports states that the 76ers have traded Ersan Ilyasova to Atlanta for Tiago Splitter and two second-round picks. The first second-round pick used to belong to the Miami Heat but was acquired by the Hawks in a previous deal. The other second-round pick is an exchange of sorts, with the teams swapping spots.
It hasn’t been clarified which pick the 76ers will receive, as the Hawks also control the second-round selection of the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets currently have the worst record in the entire NBA, dictating that this pick would be the first selection of the second round. Exact details on the pick exchanging will likely be confirmed by the NBA a bit later.
Ersan Ilyasova has played well in his first full season with the Philadelphia 76ers. In 53 games (40 starts), he has averaged 27.3 minutes, 14.8 points, and 5.9 rebounds per game. Ilyasova has helped spread the floor for the centers on the roster, giving the team a good weapon from beyond the three-point line. He has averaged 5.6 three-point attempts per game this year, hitting on 35.9 percent of his shots.
The 76ers acquired Ilyasova in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder back in November, sending Jerami Grant to OKC for a 2020 first-round draft pick. Ilyasova is also in the final year of his current contract and will earn $8.4 million during the 2016-17 NBA season. That makes him a very affordable acquisition for the Atlanta Hawks.
This deal gives the Atlanta Hawks a player who can certainly help them in the 2017 NBA Playoffs. There had been numerous NBA trade rumors about the team possibly dealing Paul Millsap, but the front office has refuted those stories to the media. Now the team has added another weapon before the NBA trade deadline, showing that the front office isn’t looking to break down the roster after all. Ilyasova will likely come off the bench behind Millsap, giving Dwight Howard another interesting player to share the floor with.
As for the inclusion of Tiago Splitter in this deal, he will likely never play a game for the Philadelphia 76ers. He hasn’t played a game yet this season, meaning insurance is covering his salary for the Atlanta Hawks. The benefit for the 76ers taking him in a deal is that he counts against the salary cap still, meaning the team doesn’t have to worry about falling below the salary “floor” and getting penalized by the league. It’s the final year on Splitter’s contract, which will make him an unrestricted free agent during the coming NBA offseason.
There are still a lot of Philadelphia 76ers trade rumors about players like Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel floating around social media. Noel is also in the final year of his current contract and slated to become a restricted free agent during the NBA offseason. This makes him more expendable unless the front office has decided that they plan to offer him a nice contract extension. Barring that, it would be a good idea to deal him rather than lose Noel for no return in free agency.
A lot of chatter also links Okafor to teams like the Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers, and Chicago Bulls, but there doesn’t appear to be any imminent deals. The team could decide to keep him and explore other paths during the offseason, especially after acquiring more draft picks in this deal with the Atlanta Hawks. Dealing Ersan Ilyasova shows that the team might be close to going into full “tank” mode again this season, so fans shouldn’t be surprised if more Philadelphia 76ers trade rumors surface in the next 12-to-16 hours.
[Featured Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]