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.
(GIF via Ben Golliver)