Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
UPDATE on Feb. 7 at 10:15 a.m. ET by Zach Buckley
According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, sources say the Sixers "continue to hold out hope that they can acquire a future first-round pick" in exchange for Evan Turner.
Teams have treated 2014 first-round picks like life rafts, desperately clinging to them in hopes of landing one of the class' premier talents. If this crop of new NBA blood is half as good as advertised, that's a sound strategy to follow.
Still, as teams get further into their self-assessments leading up to the Feb. 20 trade deadline, it isn't hard to imagine someone envisioning Turner as a potential difference-maker. Packing an improving scoring punch and a polished floor game, he might have enough of an impact now to warrant sacrificing a piece of the future.
--End of update--
UPDATE on Feb. 6 at 6:00 p.m. ET by Adam Fromal
B/R's Jared Zwerling is now reporting that Evan Turner might not get traded, tweeting that a first-round pick could change Philadelphia's mind, but the young swingman appears likely to become a pricey free agent.
This is by no means a death knell for the Turner trade rumors, though.
Given the way he's scored the ball and the promise he offers in a system that doesn't feature him as such a primary offensive option, the Ohio State product could still bring back a top-30 pick in the upcoming 2014 NBA draft.
All it takes is one desperate team.
--End of update--
If there's one player who's going to be on the move, it seems likely that it's Evan Turner.
The swingman has used his fourth season at the professional level to break out, averaging 17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while upping his levels of shooting efficiency. The biggest difference has been his attack mentality, as Turner is now seeking out the rim and finishing plays through bigger players.
Fortunately, the former Ohio State Buckeye has been blissfully unaware of the rumors, though he's still at least acknowledging their existence. "If I had read the paper, I’d have been packed for different weather," he told Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times before a game against the Brooklyn Nets.
How could he not be aware they exist?
They're everywhere, as a multitude of teams have shown interest in acquiring the services of No. 12 (the Oklahoma City Thunder and Phoenix Suns are brought up by Sean Deveney of Sporting News). Not only is he a young player with offensive talent, but he's an expiring contract who could either open up financial flexibility or re-sign with the team for the prime of his career.
Then again, that can also be problematic. Teams that don't think they could re-sign Turner are going to be more hesitant to deal for a player who essentially amounts to a half-season rental.
However, the Sixers seem intent on dealing Turner.
Deveney writes the following before noting that Philadelphia would like to acquire yet another draft pick:
The Philadelphia 76ers, deep into a rebuilding project that kicked off last June on draft night with the trade of All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, have been stepping up their efforts to make a move before the trade deadline, and swingman Evan Turner has been at the forefront of those discussions, sources told Sporting News.
The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell reports that the Charlotte Bobcats are interested in Turner's services, though he notes no deal is imminent.
Sam Amico also notes on Twitter that the Dallas Mavericks have looked into acquiring the swingman. He reports on Fox Sports that the Suns, Los Angeles Clippers and Atlanta Hawks could go for deals as well.
We haven't quite reached "You name a team, and it's interested in Turner" status, but it appears we're not too far away.