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Philadelphia 76ers: Exception in Marreese Speights Deal Will Help Move Iguodala

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Philadelphia 76ers: Exception in Marreese Speights Deal Will Help Move Iguodala
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If two second-round draft picks and Rod Thorn's draft day discretion don't get you all fuzzy, the $2.72 million trade exception coming back to the Sixers in a three-team trade for Marreese Speights should.

For Sixer fans still mourning the loss of Marreese Speights—he’s fine; just dealt Wednesday to the Grizzlies via a three-team deal with the Hornets—fear not.

He will be avenged.

How? One of two ways, or both.

The first and most likely and promising? With the Sixers $2.72 million trade exception picked up in the swap, which also sent former Kansas phenom and Memphis No. 1 draft pick in 2010 Xavier Henry to the Hornets. That’s going to be huge right around the trade deadline, or whenever the Andre Iguodala trade talks heat up again, a distinct possibility with Iggy earning early-season NBA All-Star consideration from various national media, and shooting straight silly from three-point land. He’s 12-for-18 on the season, one in which he, for whatever reason, has graciously and voluntarily decided to take a diminished role in the 76ers offense.

Thank God for the Sixers, both before and after Iguodala is (hopefully) shipped out, a move made significantly easier with the exception.

Next, there’s the return on investment, two second-round draft picks, which might not be as big a punch line as it seems.

Yes, Speights, the No. 16 pick of the 2008 draft, was expected to fill the big shoes of the big he wasn’t, and was more highly touted within the organization—Lord only knows why—than Roy Hibbert (Indiana), JaVale McGee (Washington) and DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers), all passed up by the Sixers on draft night.

But we are talking Rod Thorn here, your 2002 NBA Executive of the Year, an accolade won for his fixer-upper job on the New Jersey Nets, who hadn’t tasted Finals oak until Thorn came to town in 2000.

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If you remember, the now-Russian-owned Nyets made back-to-back Finals in 2001-'02 and 2002-'03.

He also drafted Michael Freaking Jordan.

Needless to say, Thorn kind of knows what he’s doing on draft nights. (At least more than the guy who drafted Sam Bowie in ‘84.)

So, what will Thorn do with those two twos? 

He might not have whiffed with 50th overall pick this past draft, spent on local boy Lavoy Allen. But Allen, of Temple, hasn’t seen action—or given reason to suspect he will—so far.

The rest of Thorn’s second-round track record? Not too bad, if you consider the likes of Kyle Korver (No. 51 overall to the Nets in 2003), Rod Higgins and Mike Brown (Nos. 31 and 69 overall to the Bulls in 1982 and 1985, when drafts went deeper than the two-round format used today; Brown went in the third round), both of whom compiled humble-but-reputable careers as lifetime journeymen.

Then, of course, there’s Brian Scalabrine, who's graced the league with his gingerness since 2001, when Thorn scooped him up mercifully at No. 34 overall for the Nets. And it’s rumored that the organization sold minority ownership to Jay-Z and set the wheels in motion to move to Brooklyn shortly thereafter solely to compensate for Scalabrine's swaglessness.

So even that worked out in the end.

Matt Hammond is a producer for 97.3 ESPN South Jersey, who also writes for 973ESPN.com. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattHammond973.

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