9:22am: The Pelicans received $2MM in cash from the Sixers in exchange for the No. 53 pick, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
9:10am: The Pelicans have traded the No. 53 pick in Thursday’s draft to the Sixers in exchange for cash considerations, New Orleans announced today (via Twitter).
This sort of deal typically happens during the draft when teams have a better sense of which players will be on the board, but this pick will change hands more than 12 hours before it’s actually used.
The Pelicans still have the 17th, 35th, 43rd, and 51st overall picks in the 2021 NBA draft. The team likely recognized it wouldn’t be making all five selections and decided to make an early move with the lowest of those picks. If New Orleans needs to add a second-rounder as a sweetener in a separate deal, the club still has three picks this year and several in future seasons that would work.
As for the 76ers, they now control the 28th, 50th, and 53rd picks in this year’s draft. If Philadelphia expects to be a taxpayer in 2021/22, using second-round picks on players who will earn the rookie minimum is a good way to ensure the final couple roster spots don’t add substantially to the team’s tax bill. But we’ll have to see what the Sixers have in mind with those second-rounders — it’s possible one or both could be flipped in another deal.
It’s not clear yet how much it cost the 76ers to buy the Pelicans’ pick. The Sixers sent a conditional $2MM to the Thunder in a deal near the start of the 2020/21 league year, so they were capped at sending out about $3.6MM before the ’21/22 league year begins.