Best Potential Trade Packages, Scenarios and Landing Spots for Evan Turner
Neither party entered this season under false pretenses.
First-year coach Brett Brown said he saw "six NBA players" on his roster in training camp, via Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, but general manager Sam Hinkie didn't go searching for more. For better, or hopefully worse, this is what Brown would have at his disposal.
Turner was one of those six NBA bodies, but he didn't see himself staying in the picture. Unable to secure a contract extension before the season, the impending restricted free agent has seemingly long envisioned a future outside of Philly.
"Hinkie is not my GM," Turner said, via Jason Wolf of USA Today. "He doesn't owe me anything. ... We're going in different directions and everything like that."
Those directions apparently haven't changed. According to Sporting News' Sean Deveney, the Sixers "have been stepping up their efforts" to find Turner a new home before the Feb. 20 trade deadline.
Philly is reportedly searching for a draft pick in exchange for No. 2 overall selection in 2010. Despite having his best statistical season to date (17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists), Tuner's uncertain future lowers his trade value from what those numbers would typically bring in return.
Still, there's a market for his services, and a number of teams that could improve their situations—as well as Turner's—by cutting him loose from the City of Brotherly Love.
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Omer Asik (two years, $16.7 million), Donatas Motiejunas (two years, $2.9 million)
Atlanta Hawks Receive: Evan Turner (one year, $6.6 million), Thaddeus Young (three years, $28 million), Isaiah Canaan (three years, $2.3 million), 2014 first-round pick (from Houston Rockets)
Houston Rockets Receive: Paul Millsap (two years, $19 million), Elton Brand (one year, $4 million)
Motiejunas has a $2.2 million team option for 2015-16. Young has a $9.9 million player option for 2015-16. Canaan has an early termination option for 2015-16.
Why Philadelphia Does It
Because this potentially makes the Sixers a lot better down the line without impacting their dismal record in the short term.
The Sixers were reportedly involved in the first round of Asik bidding, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein. While Houston has since taken the big man off the trade market, his multiple trade requests and disappearing act from the rotation (his last appearance came on Dec. 2) still point toward an eventual exit.
Asik's balloon payment of $15 million for next season has scared off some suitors, but Philly has the funds to cough up that change and keep building beyond that. If the complete rebuild of Nerlens Noel's jump shot pans out, Philly could have a towering twosome wreaking two-way havoc for next season.
Motiejunas has size (7'0") and a sweet shooting form. The Rockets haven't found many minutes for the 23-year-old, but Philly wouldn't have that same problem.
Why Atlanta Does It
Because even if the Hawks were at full strength—two-time All-Star Al Horford is out for the year with a torn pectoral—this team's upside is limited.
Adding Turner, Young, Canaan and a draft pick cannot change that fact. It does, however, give Atlanta more options in finding that winning formula that has eluded this franchise for so many years.
The two Philadelphia arrivals give first-year coach Mike Budenholzer versatility. A disciple of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Coach Bud has seen firsthand how to maximize versatile talents.
Young can be a two-way force at either forward spot. Turner can ease some of the playmaking duties on Jeff Teague (3.6 turnovers per 36 minutes) and Louis Williams (2.5) or be dumped for cap space at season's end. Canaan, an instant-offense scorer, has intriguing potential masked by Houston's deep point guard rotation.
Throw that first-round pick into the mix, and general manager Danny Ferry has a chance to elevate this team beyond its current limits.
Why Houston Does It
Because the Rockets are in win-now mode and leave this transaction with the best player involved.
Finding a prominent power forward isn't the priority it was at the start of the Asik bidding, given Terrence Jones' emergence (11.9 points, 7.5 rebounds), but Jones can't match Millsap's ability. Jones might have a higher ceiling down the line, but Houston didn't lure in Dwight Howard last summer to think about the future.
Millsap is a proven commodity (17.7 points, 8.2 rebounds) with the shooting stroke (36.3 three-point percentage) and athleticism to space the floor for Howard's post offense and James Harden's slashing game. Millsap is also a tremendous value at his contract, and it's one that increases with the concurrent subtraction of Asik.
At worst, Brand is an expiring contract. At best, he's someone capable of bringing Houston's interior some stability behind Howard.
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Ben Gordon (one year, $13.2 million), 2014 first-round pick (from Portland Trail Blazers)
Charlotte Bobcats Receive: Evan Turner (one year, $6.6 million), Jason Richardson (two years, $12.8 million)
Richardson has a $6.6 million player option for 2014-15.
Why Philadelphia Does It
Because this team needs as many assets as it can get for its tanking rebuilding project.
If Gordon (5.4 points, .357/.269/.789 shooting slash) sees any floor time, he could actually make one of the league's bottom feeders even worse. Given the depth of the 2014 draft class and the fact the New Orleans Pelicans (20-27) might be bad enough to hold onto their top-five protected first-round pick they owe the Sixers, Philly needs to do what it can to improve its own first-round selection.
The Sixers have the funds to be a force in free agency (just $21.7 million in guaranteed money for next season), but they need something else to attract the top offseason movers. Shedding Richardson's contract gives them further flexibility, and a nucleus of Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel and the unnamed 2014 prospect, along with money to bring a friend, could be intriguing enough to land one (or more) of those prominent free agents.
The Blazers pick won't be great, but it gives Philly another chance to land NBA talent—something Brown knows his roster is short on.
Why Charlotte Does It
Because no matter what the standings say, this franchise is ready to win now.
It still doesn't have the tools for such a job (see: Charlotte's 21-28 record), but the intention is absolutely there. According to Alex Kennedy of BasketballInsiders.com, rival executives have said the Bobcats will be buying in this trade market. An NBA source confirmed to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer that Charlotte has "looked into acquiring" Turner.
Parting with the Portland pick won't be as easy as it sounds. The Bobcats still owe a first-round pick to the Chicago Bulls (top-10 protected) and have a top-eight protected pick owed to them by the Detroit Pistons that may not be paid off this summer. Charlotte could have as many as three first-round picks in this draft or may not have any at all.
With that kind of risk, the reward has to be pretty substantial.
Slotting Turner alongside an interior presence (Al Jefferson, 19.6 points and 10.6 rebounds) and a prolific scoring guard (Kemba Walker, 18.7 points and 5.0 assists) could be that type of payoff. The Bobcats already have a dominant defense (101.3 points allowed per 100 possessions, seventh overall), but they lack a reliable offensive playmaker. Turner could fill that void.
This still may not add up to anything more than a first-round exit, but for a franchise with one playoff appearance to show for its first nine years of existence, that might be more than enough.
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Shawn Marion (one year, $9.3 million), 2014 second-round pick (from Boston Celtics)
Dallas Mavericks Receive: Evan Turner (one year, $6.6 million)
Why Philadelphia Does It
Because the longer Turner is in town, the better this team will play.
Tanking might be a trendy front office term, but it doesn't trickle down to the roster. The Sixers don't have much in the way of talent, but they compete. Among Philly's 15 wins this season are victories over the Miami Heat, Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets and Portland Trail Blazers.
Philly's brain trust cannot turn off the team's competitive spirit, but it can swing a deal like this for a past-his-prime 35-year-old, who's starting to fight some nagging injuries. If Marion's body won't let him see the floor for the playoff-hungry Mavs, imagine how it will react when the postseason is no longer even a pipe dream.
Marion does more harm than help for the Sixers, which makes this a win for Philly. That second-round pick, really not much different than a late first, makes the trade a potential steal.
Why Dallas Does It
Because Turner improves this team now and could become a part of its future.
With Dirk Nowitzki willing to take a "significant pay cut" this summer, via Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News, the Mavs have the money to go star hunting in the offseason. Of course, Dallas has been sitting on cap space for a while and as of yet been unable to reel in that top-shelf talent, so a player like Turner might be a more realistic target.
Sam Amico of FOX Sports said the Mavs have started "to explore" the possibility of making a move for Turner. The 25-year-old could have a hard time convincing potential suitors that his stats haven't been inflated by the lack of talent around him, which could keep his price down. If he has enjoyed dramatic growth, then his next employer could be looking at a bargain.
Moving for him now might make it easier to keep him in Dallas this summer. Not to mention the impact his steady offensive hand could have on the Mavs' current playoff push.
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Emeka Okafor (one year, $14.5 million), 2014 first-round pick (from Washington Wizards)
Phoenix Suns Receive: Evan Turner (one year, $6.6 million), Thaddeus Young (three years, $28 million)
Young has a $9.9 million player option for 2015-16.
Why Philadelphia Does It
Because Okafor is the Michael Jordan of the tanking world.
The 31-year-old has been out since training camp with a herniated disc in his neck and may not suit up again this season. For a franchise embracing the loss column hoping to improve its draft stock, Okafor's ongoing absence is as good as gold.
It gets even better. This injury has caused an insurance policy to kick in, meaning that 80 percent of the salary he's owed from the season's midpoint will be recouped by the team holding his rights. That's good for a $5.8 million savings, via AZCentral.com's Paul Coro.
As for the pick, it's one of a possible four first-rounders the Suns hold. It has top-12 protection, but the Wizards have climbed to the No. 5 seed in the East. They should be good enough that this pick changes hands but bad enough that it still carries some value when it does.
Why Phoenix Does It
Because the Suns have the talent to compete for something of substance now and the youth to withstand sacrificing a small piece of the future.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough told NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper that his team was ready to part ways with one (or more) of its draft picks in December if the right offer came along. Phoenix is reportedly eyeing a star—ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne say the Suns have been discussing a swap for Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol—but prying two pieces out of Philadelphia could be the preferable path.
Both Turner and Young are built for Suns coach Jeff Hornacek's uptempo offense. Their ability to create off the dribble could provide an extra element to this pace-and-space attack. Both can affect the game at either end of the floor, freeing up Hornacek to be more selective with his specialists.
The Suns have thrived with a why-not-us mentality, but the experience of Young and Turner could prepare this team for the grind that lies ahead.
Golden State Warriors
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Harrison Barnes (two years, $5.9 million)
Golden State Warriors Receive: Evan Turner (one year, $6.6 million)
Barnes has a $3.8 million team option for 2015-16. Golden State has a trade exception from its offseason sign-and-trade for Andre Iguodala.
Why Philadelphia Does It
Because Barnes could start in Philly for the next decade.
A top-shelf athlete with the physical frame of a prototypical wing (6'8", 210 pounds), his upside is enormous. His highlight reels are some of the best in the class, he's had scouts salivating over his ability for years and he still plays the game the right way (hustles, plays both ends, never pouts about his role).
He may not be the key cog to Philly's revival, but he could play a pivotal role in righting the ship. If the Sixers like what they're seeing during Noel's training sessions, picking up Barnes would give them a tantalizing trio to build around (along with Carter-Williams).
If Philly can't find the draft pick it wants, landing a high-ceiling player like Barnes is the next best option.
Why Golden State Does It
Because Turner makes the Warriors better now.
Some will see shopping Barnes now as underselling his ability, since his stat sheet has suffered from a diminished role (10.1 points on 40.8 percent shooting). The pro-trade crowd will call this selling moderately high on manufactured potential that wasn't realized in college and has only been spotted in spurts at the pro level.
Even if you're a Barnes fan, it's hard to say this trade wouldn't improve the Dubs' chances for this season. Given the sacrifices they've made to get in the championship race—Golden State has traded two of its next four first-round picks and each of its next five second-rounders—this team shouldn't hesitate to put all its eggs in the 2013-14 basket.
Turner can create the second-team offensive chances that Jordan Crawford isn't (2.3 assists since joining the Dubs) and finish the scoring chances that Barnes hasn't. Turner's a savvy enough decision-maker that Warriors coach Mark Jackson wouldn't have to keep trotting out Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for 37-plus minutes a night.
Prospects like Barnes don't come around often. They don't always come close to reaching their potential, either.