NBA Executives Discuss Sixers, Tanking

November 8 2013 at 10:03am CST By Luke Adams

The Sixers have come back to earth a little since their hot start, but their resumé still includes impressive wins over presumed title contenders like the Heat and Bulls. While I expect the club to finish in or near the Eastern Conference cellar, the team’s first week had observers wondering if GM Sam Hinkie needed to alter his approach one way or the other. Perhaps the team could build around its current nucleus, or maybe Hinkie needed to move a productive veteran or two to ensure that the better-than-anticipated performance didn’t continue.

ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard spoke to several East executives about the Sixers, and how those execs would handle the situation if they were running the show in Philadelphia. The answers, which touched on tanking and trade scenarios, were pretty interesting, so let’s round up a few of the more notable quotes….

A general manager on trade possibilities:

“What I would expect Sam Hinkie to do is to get on the phone and try to move his last good veteran pieces that are playing well. I’m sure [agent] David Falk is trying to get Evan Turner out of there. But I don’t know who takes him because Turner is in the last year of his contract, and Falk is trying to get a lot of money for him. And the problem is that a guy like Thaddeus Young is hard to move because of his contract. So I don’t know who would trade anything of value for him.”

A second executive on the odds of the Sixers continuing to stay above .500:

“I would be stunned if they can sustain this. Besides Michael Carter-Williams, Turner, [Spencer] Hawes and Thaddeus Young, they’ve got nobody. There is no way, if I were Hinkie, I would begin to think this is a nucleus I can build around. No way. Not right now. I thought before the season they were going to win less than 10 games. Their bench guys weren’t even that good in college.”

That same executive on tanking:

“Tanking is a hard thing to do. It’s easy to say you’re going to do it, but when you’re going through the dog days of January and you’re 5-30 and there are 4,000 people in the stands, it’s painful. The other thing is that while Andrew Wiggins is a good prospect, he’s not the next LeBron [James] — or even Kobe [Bryant] when he came out back in ’96. He’s not that. He’s a very good player, but it’s not like when Tim Duncan was coming out of college.”

A third executive on whether the Sixers should try building around their core:

“Would I start to think I’ve got a nucleus to build around if I were Hinkie? Hell no. There is no part of me that thinks they have something to build around. Come on, look at that roster. I’m not saying they’re horrible, but it’s just not realistic at all. They will probably try to trade Evan Turner, but that’s going to be tough. David Falk is going to ask for the world [in Turner's next contract]. He’s a tough agent. Everybody’s thinking that.”

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