By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)
In the midst of the hoopla surrounding the Chris Paul trade to the Rockets Wednesday, Houston general manager Daryl Morey somehow found time to contact Bryan Colangelo and complete a deal with the Sixers. Surely, this is the Houston transaction that will be the topic of discussion throughout the upcoming holiday weekend.
Philadelphia has traded Shawn Long to Houston for cash and a 2018 second-round pick, league source tells @TheVertical.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 28, 2017
The pick was later confirmed to be Houston’s own 2018 pick, with no protections.
Pick #sixers received in today's Shawn Long trade was Houston's own 2018 2nd, per source. Houston also had least favorable of CHA/MEM/MIA
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) June 28, 2017
Given the fact that Houston should have either Chris Paul or James Harden running Mike D’Antoni’s offense every minute of the season next year, it’s very likely the pick will only be in the mid-to-high-50’s. As we’ve seen in the past though, you never know which asset can be the butterfly that flaps its wings and turns into the next Markelle Fultz down the road. I only hope Colangelo doesn’t sell the pick for cash again on draft night next June.
As for Shawn Long, he did a nice job for the Sixers in the 18 games he appeared in last year. Long averaged 8.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in 13.0 minutes, shooting 56.0% from the field and 36.8% from behind the arc. As the Embiid-less second half of the season wound down, Long was a bright spot for the team and had the look of a man who could eventually develop into a rotational stretch big man.
The Sixers had the former Louisiana-Lafayette star under contract cheaply each of the next two seasons, including for just $1.3M during the upcoming 2017-18 season. However, both years were fully non-guaranteed, and given the new bodies coming to the team via the draft and by way of free agency, it was likely Long would have been released at some point prior to the start of the season anyway.
Instead, with Long not included in the Chris Paul deal, he’ll apparently have a chance to make the Rockets roster. With Paul and Harden making big money, Houston will need low-cost players on their roster who can actually give them minutes. Long fits the Rockets’ style as a big man who could stretch the floor and create room for their star guards to operate in the lane out of the pick-and-roll. He would certainly have plenty of opportunities to can open triples given the gravity those two create on the court.
For the Sixers, terrific work by Colangelo to get an actual asset for a guy who the team was likely going to let walk come fall. Something with the magnitude of the Markelle Fultz trade is how the majority of the people look back at the tenure of a front office decision maker, and rightly so. But capitalizing on these smaller deals has value as well. While I haven’t agreed with every single thing he’s done, Colangelo is hitting on the majority of his moves both big and small. Given time, we’ll see how it eventually translates to the team’s success.