Hinkie says first-round pick was key to trade

Posted: August 28, 2014

IT DOESN'T appear that it was the additions of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved that prompted 76ers president and general manager Sam Hinkie to agree to the deal that sent Thaddeus Young to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a three-team trade this weekend, the same deal that sent Kevin Love from Minnesota to Cleveland and land the Timberwolves the last two No. 1 picks - Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.

As with most of the decisions that Hinkie has made during his short time with the Sixers, this move was made with the future in mind, most notable the first-round pick the Sixers acquired from the Cavs, which they owned from the Miami Heat. The pick will be top 10 protected in 2015 and 2016 and then unprotected in 2017. Most likely the Sixers will get the pick after this upcoming season and it will probably a choice that will be later in the round. Though it lost LeBron James to Cleveland, Miami probably will still be a pretty formidable team in the East.

"There were several components [that were enticing] and one is the first-round pick held by Miami," Hinkie said in a conference call yesterday. "That's important. You don't see a lot of first-round picks changing hands these days. The players will be helpful, too. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had a fantastic career at UCLA. Early in his NBA career, he was an everyday lockdown defender. He's a versatile guy who could guard multiple positions.

"Alexey Shved, been around for 2 years and played at a high level in big games, a guy that we had paid attention to for many years before he joined Minnesota. He can both handle the ball and play off the ball."

Another big key for Hinkie and the coaching staff was that Mbah a Moute has a mentoring relationship with fellow Cameroonian Joel Embiid, the team's top first-round selection in June's draft.

"Luc's relationship with Joel can only help," said Hinkie. "We're definitely in the mode of player development and Joel's a big part of that."

Of course, the trade rids the Sixers of their leading scorer of a year ago and the last of any veteran leadership the team had on the floor at the end of last season.

"Thad had been here 7 years and laid it on the line night after night," Hinkie said. "Thad had undergone a lot of changes here and continually brought it day after day. I talked to Thad and I mentioned that to him as well and I'm aware of the kind of ups and downs he'd been through in his Sixers career.

"During all of my time here, Thad was a day-to-day pro and that was really appreciated. I don't think you find people like him very much. He's straight down the middle, professional, loves his wife and kids. He just really does a lot of things as a man and a person that I really respect. Those things matter and that's why these decisions, while necessary, are very hard."

While the call was to discuss the trade, many topics were brought up to Hinkie:

* On whether Embiid may play this season: "I don't know at this point. Right now, he's in Philly and visiting with a variety of our medical professionals and going through tests. He'll get a good baseline and then we'll put together a rehab plan. He's still in a boot. He was shooting threes on one leg in our gym [Monday]. I don't know how it will play out. We'll take an approach without knowing where the finish line is. We want to know how we can be sure to put him in a position to have a long NBA career. However long [rehab] takes will be however long it takes. In my experience with this injury, a very reasonable approach that our medical professionals take is to put these hurdles in place for them to rise above and then measure the symptoms and then let's see what happens in the days after. Is there tightness or soreness or swelling? Does the MRI or X-ray show something different? When we set that road map, no one knows [how long it will take]."

Hinkie also said that in rehabbing last season from a torn ACL, Nerlens Noel had not setbacks. Noel, of course, missed the whole season. Read into that what you will.

* On the progress of Michael Carter-Williams following his April shoulder surgery: "Things are coming along. I haven't seen the full report of late and haven't seen the most recent checkup. He can shoot and is working hard. He is not ready for full five-on-five contact."

* On what the summer told him about Nerlens Noel: "He's had a pretty good summer. Within a week or 10 days after the season he was in the gym. At the very end of the season he had met all of the benchmarks that we laid out. Your ability to maximize your gifts is what we need. He has the ability to change the game very quickly. He can get off the floor quick enough to wait for guys to shoot [then block shots]. He can impact things that way. He has a real quickness with the ball. His ability to run the floor we haven't seen yet."

Hinkie also said that Jason Richardson, who was out all of last season after major knee surgery, and Arnett Moultrie, suspended late last season for a failed drug test, will both have the opportunity to make the team, though it would seem more likely they'll be bought out of their contracts. Hinkie mentioned Richardson's valued leadership, though he didn't play a game for the team last season.

When asked if there is concern to reach the NBA salary floor, Hinkie said: "At this point, that is not something that is a concern for us." The salary cap will be a little over $63 million this season. The minimum team salary, which is 90 percent of the cap, is just under $57 million. The Sixers are currently around $24 million, but that doesn't include any of the rookie salaries.

"As for cap planning, we have lots of flexibility this summer, which enables us to be in some conversations and have some opportunities," Hinkie said.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

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