The Oklahoma City Thunder traded F Ersan Ilyasova and a conditional first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, in exchange for F Jerami Grant. The draft pick included in the trade is OKC’s 2020 first round pick, which is protected from slots 1-20 and becomes two 2nd round picks (2022 & 2023) if it does not convey in ’20.
Poor Ersan! Philly will be his fourth team in just two seasons, after spending the first seven years of his NBA career in Milwaukee. In retrospect, it was reasonable to think that Ilyasova wouldn’t last long in Oklahoma City as the big men piled up around him. Despite bringing perhaps a unique skill set to other bigs on the Thunder roster, GM Presti decided to package him with a pick for the much younger Jerami Grant.
Presti and the Thunder get essentially a free look at Grant, who has a friendly non-guaranteed deal for this season followed by a very cheap team option for the 17/18 season. Is he possibly being groomed as Andre Roberson insurance, should they have to let him go? Grant measures favourably with Roberson and whilst very raw, has similarities on both sides of the ball. Roberson is a RFA this Summer and whilst the Thunder love him, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Lauvergne & Grant trades are a stockpiling of cheap talent in case the decks are cleared for another star.
Speaking of which, given both the Thunder & Sixers were under the cap they were able to execute a lopsided trade without matching salaries. This has resulted in the Thunder receiving a $7.4mil trade exception that can be added with any outgoing player to match the salary of an incoming player.
Is this all a pre-cursor to a bigger move from Presti? If it is, I can’t help but feel the Thunder win this trade big time.
Shooting, shooting, shooting. This is all about shooting. Philly is woefully short on players able to spread the floor. The 76ers rank in the bottom 3rd in the league in catch-and-shoot points, FG% and 3pt%. Scoring a career 36.9% 3pt shooter should benefit guys like Saric, Okafor and Embiid. For all of Grant’s athletic abilities, he hasn’t quite figured out this whole shooting thing yet. Ilyasova not only serves as ‘respected’ shooter, he is an older guy (10 years in the league) who can help Gerald Henderson with the leadership duties burden.
On the loss side, Grant was playing OK, but is really not playable with Simmons (when he returns) and was behind Covington at the 3 and Saric at the 4. This trade not only means better shooting on the floor more often, but it might indicate Philly is ready to roll with Saric at the 3 spot a little bit more. Super Dario (just made that up) has shot 36% from deep and long term needs to be a 3 to play with Simmons and Embiid. Philly will miss some athleticism and defensive potential, but this is what they are giving up:
The Sixers have won the last few deals when they cashed out on a player (KJ McDaniels and Michael Carter-Williams). The return looks middling at the moment, but Ilyasova doesn’t cost them much. Philly are still $7-8 million under the salary floor (90% of the Salary Cap), and Ersan is expiring this season. Philly get a conditional first round pick for saving the Thunder $7.5 million this year and a player they view as a better potential long term fit. Hard to find fault with this trade.
The only downside? Positive team culture is hard to build when you move a player viewed like this by his peers: