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Jun 27 2014

Elfrid Payton’s 15 Minutes of Sixers

Elfrid Payton’s press conference began like all the others; the questions were part generic, part personal, part quote baiting. How does it feel to go to your favorite player’s (Allen Iverson) team. How do you think you’ll fit in alongside Michael Carter-Williams? What can you bring to the 76ers? Bleh Blah Bluh. Payton said all the right things about the Sixers and about Philadelphia. I was kinda starting to like him.

But then two minutes in, this happened:

“Elfrid. Steve Kyler, from Basketball Insiders. “There’s reports you’re going to be traded to Orlando Magic, how does it feel to go to Orlando?”

Payton laughed for a second.

“Uhh, I don’t know, I guess that would be nice too. Anything is a blessing, man.”

It was my favorite moment of the draft. Awkward as hell, sure; here’s a 20-year-old who just 30 minutes earlier, had thought he’d be living in Philadelphia for the next four years. Then, out of nowhere, he’s gone. Off to Orlando. But it wasn’t all that surprising.

Elfrid on the Sixers didn’t make sense. In college, per Draft Express, he was a high-usage player that couldn’t hit threes; he might turn into a good player, though he didn’t seem like a fit alongside Michael Carter-Williams, and he didn’t have the upside to justify that. With Hinkie’s asset exchange program, everybody is fair game.

So Hinkie dealt Payton to Orlando in exchange for Dario Saric (12th pick), a protected 2017 first rounder (Philly’s from the Bynum trade) and a second rounder. A great trade, especially if Saric opts out of his three-year contract by next season. And, hey, Payton said he’s cool with Orlando too. Everybody wins.

That was Hinkie’s only major deal of the night; but you can bet he’ll be making more calls this summer. Nobody is safe. Everyone’s a trade chip.

Elfrid Payton hat struggle on Twitpic
(GIF via Ben Golliver)

  • robbybonfire23

    Eric –

    I have a question for you or for anyone with a clue, here. And that is, can the 76ers buy-out the Saric contract with his Croatia team, and bring him right in here? Is this legal? Or if this is legal, would the price be extreme, so that, factored in with the player’s contract deal we give him, it would be counter-productive? Thanks for any response that clarifies this situation…

    • hk99

      robby,

      From what I have read, I do not believe that there is a buyout option right now, but there is one after the first season. After the second season, it is a player option. However, even if they could buy him out right now, I doubt they would want to do so. Remember, his rookie contract does not begin until he signs here, so they are better off with him developing for one (and maybe two) more years on someone else’s dime while the team continues to struggle than they are bringing him here and starting his clock towards restricted, then unrestricted free agency. I would think that they might want to buy him out after next season to potentially have MCW, Noel, Embiid, Saric and next year’s #1 all here for the start of 2015-16.

      • robbybonfire23

        Thanks so much, HK. I am grudgingly o.k. with one year’s development, for the sound reasons you cite. Beyond that I see this situation as cost-prohibitive to the team.

        • hk99

          robby,

          To be honest, kids join the league at such a young age these days, in a way I feel like Saric playing two more seasons overseas might be a good thing. He just turned 20 in April. If he comes over in October 2016 for the 2016-17 season, he’d be 22.5 years old and just starting his rookie contract.

          • Wesley Share

            One note Pelton made in his trade grades post: Saric moving down to 12 – and thus his rookie deal decreasing in value – actually could de-incentivize him to come over after two years. Then, If he waits a third year in Turkey, his rookie contract there is up and he’ll be eligible to sign a bigger deal there, thus devaluing his rights to the Sixers.

          • Wesley Share

            Also: FWIW, Hinkie said in his press conference on Friday Saric will be over in no less than two years. 2016 at the earliest.

          • robbybonfire23

            We need to get Saric here in Fall, 2015. Whatever it takes. He could be the final piece in the championship puzzle. If that piece fails to materialize, we could be a Finals loser, instead of winner.

            I have already seen a young player of outstanding ability not being added to a parent roster, quite possibly cost that team a championship. I predicted, guess it’s been four years now, that when NY Rangers super-prospect Alexei Cherepanov died suddenly, of heart complications, at age 19, it would cost the Rangers a Stanley Cup championship, and maybe more, down the line. So that I am thinking of Cherepanov now, in light of the intensely-competitive games we lost to the Kings. One more big scorer in the Rangers lineup could have changed that outcome. They were not finishing their plays. Cherepanov was a finisher, deluxe, in the KHL.

            YES to Saric in Fall, 2015, so that we do not have to pay a price in remorse and regret about what might have been….

          • JulianW

            I don’t know much about hockey, but you can’t predicate winning a championship on whether one prospect years and years ago panned out. Cherepanov died in 2008, and you’re saying that caused the Rangers SIX years later to lose the championship? It couldn’t have been the countless other things that happened during the ensuing years from 2008-2014 with the Rangers, or a combination of those things, or even the fact that the Kings were simply better than the Rangers? If Cherepanov is alive and playing for the Rangers, do they go out and trade for Martin St. Louis in the 2013 offseason? If St. Louis is never on the Rangers, do they make it through the playoffs without his team-leading 8 goals?

            You can’t go back years in the past and claim one event is what caused your team to lose a playoff series. So many other events transpired over the same time frame to lead to the current outcome that it’s impossible to pinpoint one event years ago and definitively say it caused a present moment. It would be the equivalent of me saying that because the Phillies traded Scott Rolen years ago, they lost the 2008 World Series. I hope you were being sarcastic here because such an astounding leap in logic is beneath you…

          • robbybonfire23

            Julian, you are taking the position that Cherepanov, who would be a 25-year old heavy-bombardment sniper now, would not have helped the Rangers’ cause. Having Chere in there, and not having signed Brad Richards… you get the point – a team cannot assemble too much blue chip talent, nor derrick too many softie ice cream imposters.

            The Phillies WON the WS of 2008, by the way (And I think you know that, and are just playing “Gotcha!”) It was in 2009 that Charlie The Mule had his darkest hour as a psuedo-MLB manager, by going with Joe Blanton over Cliff Lee, and don’t get me started on my pat Charlie The Mule rant, unless you can spare the next 25 years…

          • JulianW

            You’re right, I did mean the 2009 series. My bad on that one.

            But my point is that with a goal scoring sniper already, the Rangers might not trade for St. Louis. Thus they wouldn’t have his performance in the playoffs this year and thus wouldn’t have made the Stanley Cup finals. This is all a what-if scenario, but it’s just as plausible as you saying that Cherepanov would have the same or greater performance with the Rangers in 2014. Both my and your scenarios are based purely on conjecture, which isn’t really worth much of anything…

          • robbybonfire23

            In a fair and just world, the two best teams in each conference – from the regular season, would meet in the Stanley Cup Final Series. Too much commercialization has made a ludicrous joke out of “championship” match-ups in all sports.

      • robbybonfire23

        Plus, HK, Tony W. is exactly the kind of player – young with considerable upside potential that comes with the polish and poise he may acquire with experience, who could fit right into a major role with this team in the next two years. I give him a good shot at becoming the MIP, most improved player in the NBA, next season. Wroten reminds me a lot of a lesser-developed Marcus Smart – just as hard-nosed, not as good defensively, as few are, but with more offensive production upside.