Report: Sixers Involved in Discussions with Kings and Bulls
The Philadelphia 76ers are in discussions with the Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings on a trade that would send Pau Gasol to Sacramento, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
The Kings are reportedly eager to add the 35 year old Gasol to their frontcourt to play alongside DeMarcus Cousins and are willing to give up a package centered around Kosta Koufos and Ben McLemore to do so.
Gasol, who is averaging 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds per game this season for Chicago, has the option to become a free agent this summer.
So where do the Sixers fit in?
Along with dealing Koufos and McLemore, the Kings are also looking to lower the protections on the 2016 draft pick they already owe to the Bulls as part of the J.J. Hickson acquisition that dates back to 2011.
The Bulls are set to receive the Kings’ 2016 draft pick if it falls outside of the top-10 in this year’s draft. Otherwise, the Kings will owe the Bulls a 2017 draft pick, which would once again be top-10 protected.
As part of the trade package to acquire Gasol the Kings are looking to lower the protection on the pick owed to Chicago to make it more likely to convey to the Bulls this year. The Kings currently have the ninth-worst record in the NBA at 22-31.
Where the Sixers come into play is that last July the Kings also made a trade with the Sixers that was contingent on that draft pick being top-10 protected. As part of the Nik Stauskas trade the Sixers have the right to swap draft picks with the Kings in 2016 and 2017 as long as the Kings pick falls inside the top-10.
Because of this, the Sixers have to agree to any alterations on the protections on the pick which could impact their swap rights, essentially forcing the Kings to make this a three-team trade with Philadelphia included.
With the Sixers’ 8-45 record, if the season ended today the lowest the Sixers could fall in the lottery is to fourth overall. While there is an outside chance of the Sixers catching the 11-44 Lakers, even if that happens the Sixers would be guaranteed a top-5 pick.
The Sixers would only swap draft picks with the Kings if Sacramento’s selection was higher than the Sixers, so changing the protection from, say, top-10 protected to top-6 protected has little to no bearing on the 2016 draft for the Sixers, it’s simply changing who gets the draft pick if the swap with Philadelphia does not happen.
In this sense, the Sixers’ being required to approve such a change would give them leverage to get an asset for free.
Where the change in protection would impact the Sixers is on the future draft pick Sacramento owes the Sixers. Outside of the right to swap draft picks with the Kings in 2016 and 2017, the Sixers also received a future first-round draft pick from Sacramento as part of the Stauskas trade, which would come two years after Sacramento pays off its obligation to Chicago.
Should that result in the Sixers getting Sacramento’s pick in 2018, the draft pick would be top-10 protected, meaning the Sixers only get the pick in 2018 if the Kings select after tenth in the draft. If the Sixers don’t get the draft pick in 2018 it then becomes an unprotected 2019 draft pick to the Sixers, meaning the Sixers will receive the pick regardless of where Sacramento finishes.
With DeMarcus Cousins set to become a free agent prior to the start of the 2018-19 season, and with Sacramento’s recent history, an unprotected pick from the Kings in the 2019 draft has the chance to be an extremely valuable pick. Getting the pick to convey in 2019, rather than outside of the top-10 in 2018, would be preferable for the Sixers.
If the Bulls are more likely to receive the pick this year, that increases the chances the Sixers would receive the pick in 2018 rather than having it pushed back to 2019. It’s this concession, more than the swap rights, which Philadelphia is likely debating internally.
So what kind of an asset could the Sixers receive in exchange for agreeing to alter the protections on Sacramento’s 2016 draft pick? It could be something from either Chicago or Sacramento, and could be in the form of a player, a future draft pick, a modification of the protections on the 2018 draft pick owed to the Sixers, or even swap rights on another pick. The possibilities are virtually endless.
As it stands right now, the Kings do not have a first round draft pick available to trade until 2021, although they could in theory trade the right to swap draft picks in 2020. Chicago does have all of their first round draft picks available to trade.
76ers Listening to Offers for Jahlil Okafor?
According to Tom Moore of Calkins Media, the 76ers are gauging interest among teams for rookie big man Jahlil Okafor.
Okafor is averaging 17.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocked shots per game in his rookie season with the Sixers. His 17.1 points per game average is the third highest for a rookie in Sixers franchise history, trailing only Allen Iverson (23.5) and Jerry Stackhouse (19.2).
Marc Stein of ESPN reported that while the Sixers have listened to trade offers for their big men, they are not looking to trade any of them unless it’s a “motherlode offer.”
The deadline to make trades is today at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.
Derek Bodner covers the 76ers for Philadelphia magazine. Follow @DerekBodnerNBA on Twitter.