By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)
Just when you thought the Sixers couldn’t grab any more second-round picks, Sam Hinkie went out and proved you wrong. The Sixers GM and lover of unproven talent on unguaranteed contracts swung a deal Saturday with Cleveland, acquiring the Cavaliers’ 2018 second-round pick. The price was a protected 2015 2nd-round pick from the Sixers (meaning they aren’t giving up anything again), plus taking on $5.3 million to their salary cap in the form of veteran guard Keith Bogans. The deal provides the Cavaliers with a $5.3M trade exception which could be a big help if they want to swing a deadline deal to add reinforcements for their new Big Three.
As for Bogans, the 11-year veteran’s most recent significant action was as a part-time starter with Brooklyn in 2012-13, as he appeared in just 6 games for the Celtics a season ago. However, Bogans will most likely be waived by the Sixers, as his contract is nonguaranteed for the next two seasons. Bogans would be their second-highest player behind Jason Richardson, and keeping around a 34-year-old guard obviously does not fit in with the team’s current developmental arc. Bogans would be allowed to catch on with a team who could use the services of an effective corner three shooter off the bench.
As for the Sixers, this deal is yet another example of getting something for nothing. Despite the fact that their 2015 second-round pick goes to Boston if the Sixers don’t make the playoffs (newsflash: they aren’t), Hinkie has already managed to trade the pick three times using various protections. Obviously, these are all just incredibly small victories, teams don’t win championships because they have a bunch of second-round picks they acquired for free. Still, hopefully one or two of those moves will turn into someone who is a difference-maker and supplement the team’s core of lottery picks.
The Sixers weren’t done making moves over the weekend, as word came out Sunday afternoon that the team claimed Chris Johnson off waivers from the Celtics. Johnson is a 6’6″ third-year swingman originally out of Dayton, who the Sixers hope can be molded in the new ‘3-and-D’ prototype now common around the league. Johnson averaged 37.1 % shooting from behind the arc over his 4 years at Dayton, topping out at 39.7% during a senior season where he was second the team in scoring at 12.4 ppg and first in rebounding at 6.4 rpg. According to NBA.com, at the time he was drafted, Johnson was the only college basketball player in the last 20 years to accumulate 1,400 points, 800 rebounds, 300 offensive rebounds and 200 three-pointers while shooting at least 80 percent from the free-throw line.
At the pro level, Johnson played most significantly in the D-league for the Rockets’ affiliate Rio Grande Valley Vipers, shooting 37.5% from behind the arc across the last two seasons. With Rio Grande running a hyper-version of the Daryl Morey’s ‘nothing but threes or lay-ups’ offense, Johnson should already be well-acquainted with how Hinkie would like the Sixers’ offense to operate. After a cup of coffee with the Grizzlies his rookie season, Johnson earned his big break at the NBA level last season, playing 40 games for the Celtics. Unfortunately, his shooting struggled at the higher level, as he shot just 39.7% from the field and 33.9% from behind the arc. Nevertheless, I’m encouraged that the team has brought in a young player with at least the potential to be a above-average outside shooter for a change.
The Sixers are over the training camp roster limit of 20 players so some additional moves will be forthcoming over the next couple days. With the team’s Media Day taking place today, and training camp set to open tomorrow, we should know more soon enough.