Philadelphia 76ers Still Waiting On Return In Sacramento Kings Trade

Jul 10, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Nik Stauskas (11) looks toward a teammate during an NBA Summer League game against the Chicago Bulls at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 10, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Nik Stauskas (11) looks toward a teammate during an NBA Summer League game against the Chicago Bulls at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia 76ers are still waiting on a positive return from the famed fleecing of the Sacramento Kings.

The Philadelphia 76ers, lead by then general manager Sam Hinkie, were involved in an eye-popping trade leading into the 2015-16 season with the Sacramento Kings. In what was called a “fleecing” by the Philadelphia 76ers by many, the team acquired a collection of assets in what was a salary dump.

In a move to clear space for Rajon Rondo, the Kings shipped Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, Nik Stauskas, a future 1st-round pick (2019), and the right for the Philadelphia 76ers to swap picks in both 2016 and 2017 in return for two second-round stash picks in Arturas Gudaitis and Luka Mitrovic.

On paper, the deal already looks like a win, but the team has yet to see a large return in this fleecing. Thompson was later traded to the Golden State Warriors for Gerald Wallace, cash, and draft considerations. Landry added some quality veteran minutes to the Philadelphia 76ers’ youthful frontcourt in the 36 games he played, averaging 9.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He was a nice locker room presence, but as expected was just a marginal addition on the court.

Nik Stauskas has thus far been the most disappointing aspect of the trade. Although he was acquired for virtually nothing, the former 2014 lottery pick continued his struggles from Sacramento into his sole year with the Philadelphia 76ers. Right from the start, Stauskas’ shooting struggles placed him to the back of the playing rotation and earned himself the sentiment of one of the team’s most disappointing players.

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Stauskas’ shooting numbers started to pick up slightly in January, as he found more of a steady stroke from the outside averaging 40.9% and 44.4% in January and February, respectively. Stauskas was more comfortable with the ball in his hand, finding his way to the rim while also showing decent passing ability. Stauskas then tailed off hard in the latter months of the season, and failed to show improvement in his Summer League stint.

Stauskas may even be on the chopping block roster-wise. The Stauskas experiment has so far fallen flat, but thankfully this trade caters to the Philadelphia 76ers in a way where they can still have a positive outcome if Stauskas never comes to fruition. Another aspect of the trade they may not come to fruition is the right to swap picks.

The Philadelphia 76ers secured the top pick in the 2016, nullifying the benefit of the right to swap picks. The team will still be tracking the Kings this season, as their right to swap picks is on its final leg. As both roster stands, it’s hard to say the Philadelphia 76ers will be outright better than the Kings this year.

Although the Philadelphia 76ers are adding the top talent in Ben Simmons, their injured-big man in Joel Embiid, and international stud Dario Saric along with their other free agent signings, the team’s backcourt depth is questionable and have more of a long-term vision than the Kings. The Kings will try to maximize the remaining years of DeMarcus Cousins by surrounding him with a team that could give him a chance to sign in the playoffs. They tried to do so by signing veterans, which might not push them over the playoff hump but it will allow them to win regular season games.

The Kings signed Arron Afflalo, Garrett Temple, Matt Barnes, and Anthony Tolliver while also naming former Memphis Grizzles coach Dave Joerger as their new head coach. Joerger found success in Memphis with a big lineup, and with one of the best big men in the league at his disposal he will look to regain glory. The four signings and the culture change may be enough to put the Kings in a decent position, thus minimizing the hopes of the Philadelphia 76ers to swap picks.

Again, those pick swaps came for virtually nothing, as the cap space the team took on was short-term and barely affected the Philadelphia 76ers, who still have more than enough room to sign two max-contract players next season. What the team will have to look forward to, barring an outlier year from Nik Stauskas or a total disaster season for Sacramento, is the pick they will receive in 2019.

The first-round pick will become one of the team’s two first-round picks, giving the team a total of five picks in the 2019 draft as of today. The trade has a very good chance of basically leading solely to the 2019 pick, with all else failing. The trade is still a favorable one for the Philadelphia 76ers even if the outcome comes to fruition, as the Kings essentially gave up three players and a first-round pick to clear room for one year of Rajon Rondo, who signed with the Chicago Bulls after his stint in Sacramento.

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The Philadelphia 76ers will still be waiting for a return, but will for sure be getting one in 2019. Anything before that return would just be an added sweetener, but one that would validate the term fleecing in a trade.