Chu Chu Maduabum

Sixers Acquire Sasha Kaun, Will Waive Him

5:52pm: The Sixers intend to waive Kaun, according to Wojnarowski (via Twitter). As I noted below, Cleveland sent Philadelphia enough cash to make the move worth the 76ers’ trouble, per Wojnarowski.

5:42pm: The Sixers and Cavaliers have completed a trade, according to a press release issued by the 76ers. The deal sends center Sasha Kaun and cash considerations to Philadelphia in exchange for the rights to Chu Chu Maduabum. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets that the move clears the way for the Cavs to finalize their signing of Chris Andersen.

Kaun, 31, played his college ball at Kansas and was selected with the 56th overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft. However, as a draft-and-stash prospect, it took him seven years to formally join an NBA roster. Kaun agreed to a two-year contract with the Cavaliers last summer, and still has one season remaining on that deal — he’s owed $1,333,420 in 2016/17.

In his lone season in Cleveland, Kaun didn’t see much action, averaging only 3.8 minutes in 25 games. While it’s possible he’ll see a larger role with the Sixers, Philadelphia has a logjam in its frontcourt at the moment, so this looks like a salary dump for Cleveland. I imagine the Cavs are sending the Sixers more than enough money to cover Kaun’s salary.

Meanwhile, the Cavs didn’t open up any cap room by moving Kaun, since cap holds for LeBron James and others ensure the team is still well over the cap. Wojnarowski’s suggestion that the move opens the door for the club to add Andersen is probably more about clearing a roster spot, and perhaps limiting the team’s tax bill.

Pistons Acquire Donatas Motiejunas

NBA: Orlando Magic at Houston Rockets

Troy Taormina / USA TODAY Sports Images

8:43pm: The Pistons acquired Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton from the Rockets as part of a three-team trade involving the Sixers, the teams all announced. The Rockets received Detroit’s top-eight protected 2016 first-round pick from the Pistons and the rights to draft-and-stash player Chukwudiebere “Chu” Maduabum from the Sixers. Philadelphia gets Joel Anthony from Detroit and Denver’s 2017 second-round pick from Houston. The Sixers are likely to waive Anthony, a league source told John Gonzalez of (Twitter link).

Motiejunas projects to be backup for Tobias Harris, whom the Pistons also recently acquired via trade, while Thornton adds depth on the wing. The Pistons paid a steep price in adding pieces to their rotation, particularly given the lingering back issues that have kept Motiejunas from appearing in a game since the calendar flipped to 2016. Still, Pistons executive/coach Stan Van Gundy has a track record of paying heavily for players he likes, as Marc Stein of ESPN tweets. Van Gundy and company will get to match offers in restricted free agency for Motiejunas this summer, while Thornton is heading to unrestricted free agency at the completion of his one-year deal.

“We’re happy to welcome Donatas and Marcus to the Pistons family,” Pistons GM Jeff Bower said. “We like Donatas’ size, his skill level and his ability to play two frontcourt positions. Marcus adds scoring punch to our bench with his ability to create his own shot and make plays.  We thank Joel Anthony for his professionalism throughout his time here and we wish him the best going forward.” 

It’s no surprise to see Motiejunas depart from Houston, as it was a lock that either he or Terrence Jones would leave the Rockets as restricted free agents this summer, Zach Lowe of reported earlier this week. Stein reported earlier in the day that the Pistons had offered Anthony to the Rockets in exchange for Motiejunas, but instead the Rockets end up with a lightly protected first-rounder. The protection covers the top 10 in 2017 and 2018 if it doesn’t convey with top-eight protection this year, an odd wrinkle. The deal also allows the Rockets to create a trade exception worth $2,288,205, Motiejunas’ salary for this season, and another worth $947,276 as a vestige of Thornton. Maduabum, the other asset Houston gained in the deal, was the 56th overall pick in 2011 and plays for Pyrinto Tampere in Finland, well off pro basketball’s beaten path.

Philadelphia’s end of the move has the hallmarks of GM Sam Hinkie rather than chairman of basketball operations Jerry Colangelo. The Sixers score a second-rounder and use their cap space to absorb a veteran player it seems they’d prefer not to keep. They waived JaKarr Sampson to accommodate the move, since they couldn’t trade for Anthony, even if they intended to release him, without first opening a roster spot. Anthony was fresh off re-signing with the Pistons in July on a two-year deal worth $5MM, but only the first season’s $2.5MM salary was guaranteed.

Will Joseph contributed to this post. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports first reported Motiejunas and Thornton were headed to Detroit and that the Pistons were giving up Anthony and the protected 2016 first-rounder (Twitter links). Brian Windhorst of revealed the protection involved with the pick (on Twitter). Wojnarowski later relayed the involvement of the Sixers (Twitter link), while Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported the second-round pick going to Philly (Twitter link). Gonzalez had news of the rights to Maduabum heading to Houston (Twitter links). RealGM provided additional draft pick detail.

Sixers Acquire JaVale McGee, First-Rounder

2:41pm: The deal is official, the Nuggets announced. It’s McGee, the rights to Maduabum, and the first-rounder that Oklahoma City owed the Nuggets heading to Philly in exchange for the rights to Akyol.

1:07pm: The Sixers also received the rights to Nigerian forward Chu Chu Maduabum from Denver in the trade, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).

11:29am: The rights to draft-and-stash prospect Cenk Akyol are headed from the Sixers to the Nuggets, tweets Orazio Cauchi of Sportando.

11:17am: Denver will get the rights to one of the foreign players stashed overseas by the Sixers, a source tells Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated (via Twitter).  Mannix also notes that the Nuggets will create a sizable trade exception in the deal.

10:58am: The Nuggets and Sixers have agreed to send JaVale McGee to Philly, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link) Wojnarowski had just reported that the sides were deep in talks (Twitter link). Philadelphia gets the Thunder’s 2015 first-round pick, which Denver picked up in the Timofey Mozgov trade last month, according to Wojnarowski. Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post reported moments earlier that the Nuggets were closing in on a trade involving McGee.

McGee missed most of 2013/14 thanks to stress fracture in his leg and has also missed time this year because of an injury in the same area.  Across the last two seasons, McGee has played in a grand total of 22 games for the Nuggets.  The high-flying 7-footer has career averages of 8.5 PPG and 5.6 RPG.  His best season arguably came in 2011/12, split between the Wizards and Nuggets, where he averaged 11.3 PPG and 7.8 RPG in 25.2 minutes per night.

Denver reportedly wanted to move McGee more than any other player on the roster.  They tried repeatedly to swing a deal for Brook Lopez with the Nets involving McGee, but that never came to fruition.