Evan Turner, the Philadelphia 76ers‘s 2010 No. 1 draft pick, is no stranger to trade rumors. In one trade scenario before last season’s trade deadline, he and Spencer Hawes were to be traded to the Utah Jazz for center Al Jefferson. In another failed trade scenario, the same two players were to be shipped to the Atlanta Hawks for power forward Josh Smith. He’s currently eligible for a contract extension this summer. The team has a new general manager in Sam Hinkie. Does Hinkie see Turner as a cornerstone piece of the team?
The Sixers just traded All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for the draft rights to No. 6 overall pick center Nerlens Noel, and a top-3 protected 2014 NBA Draft pick. Next year’s draft is presumed to be loaded, with the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker — just to name a few. Holiday was originally deemed untouchable. But that was before the Sixers hired Hinkie to replace Tony DiLeo. Hinkie is a sport analyst. He uses analytical data versus subjective opinions of scouts and players to improve decision making in the draft, trades, free agency and game strategy. It’s precisely for that reason that the Sixers traded Holiday for Noel. Hinkie felt that the team’s own draft pick, point guard Michael Carter-Williams, was a better value than Holiday.
Statistics show that the Sixers were 4.9 points better per 48 minutes when Turner was on the bench. His defense was the main culprit, though the whole team’s defense declined when Andre Iguodala left the team. On the other hand, Turner’s three-point shooting jumped to 36 percent, he rebounds well for a guard at 6.3 per game and he is a team player with career high 4.3 assists per game.
He’s still a young player, at age 25, but his production leaves much to be desired for a former No. 2 pick. With his $5.2 million salary, it may be hard to move him. Hinkie might trade Turner to another team for late-first-round draft picks or even second-round picks in an effort to shed salary. He may also trade forward Thaddeus Young instead, who has more trade value and allows the team to tank better for the upcoming deep 2014 NBA draft.