Sixers Remain Silent As NBA Trade Deadline Passes

Written By Roy Burton On Friday, February 25, 2011
The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and the Sixers' roster looks exactly the same as it did at the beginning of the season.

Meanwhile, in the past 48 chaotic hours, 20 of the other 29 teams in the league pulled off deals of varying consequence - some to acquire players, others making moves to reduce the burden on their respective salary caps.

The Knicks made the biggest splash at the trading deadline, acquiring Nuggets' SF Carmelo Anthony in a 3-team, 13-player deal. Despite dealing a cadre of players who comprised half of the team's offensive output, New York now has two bonafide superstars (Anthony and PF/C Amar'e Stoudemire), and is better equipped to handle the elite teams in the Eastern Conference.

Not to be outdone by their cross-river rivals, the New Jersey Nets pulled off a blockbuster of their own, acquiring PG Deron Williams from the Jazz for PG Devin Harris, PF Derrick Favors, two first-round picks and cash considerations.

While making the playoffs is an unlikely goal for the Nets this season, New Jersey now boasts a pair of stars of its own in Williams and PF Brook Lopez. Next year should prove to be interesting for the Nets as they look to return to relevance before moving to Brooklyn in 2012.

Even the Celtics - owners of the best record in the East at 41-14 - got in on the action, with their biggest move coming when they dealt C Kendrick Perkins and PG Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder for PF Jeff Green and C Nenad Krstic.

So with every team in the Atlantic Divison faxing deals to the league office over the past couple of days (Toronto also made a minor swap, acquiring James Johnson from the Bulls for a first-round pick), Sixers' president Rod Thorn stood pat, content with the 15 men on his roster.

That's not to say that he didn't try to make a move.

ESPN's Marc Stein posted on Twitter that the Sixers nearly pulled off a deal on Thursday afternoon. According to the report, they were in talks to trade Jason Kapono and Marreese Speights to the Houston Rockets for small forward Shane Battier.

In a league where expiring contracts are valuable commodities, Kapono was a prized asset at this year's deadline as he's in the final season of a 4-year/$24 million deal.

Speights, meanwhile, is a young big who has a deft outside touch and seemingly untapped potential. He provides a more-than-capable option off of any team's bench, and comes with a very attractive salary cap figure ($1.77 million this season).

For whatever reason, the trade fell apart, and Battier was later dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies for C Hasheem Thabeet and a future first-round pick. In hindsight, it's probably best for the Sixers that the deal didn't go through.

Assuming that he wouldn't have started here (which may or may not have been the case), Battier would have added to the logjam at the backup small forward spot. Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner and Andres Nocioni all play a fair amount at the 3 position, and including Battier into the rotation would have cut into each of their minutes.

That being said, from the moment that Battier put on a Sixers' uniform, he would have instantly become the second-best defender on the team. In addition, a hypothetical crunch-time lineup of Holiday/Iguodala/Battier/Young/Brand would have been a formidable crew, both offensively and defensively.

The benefits of adding Battier aside, trading Speights would have left the Sixers extremely thin in the frontcourt, leaving Tony Battie as the only legitimate reserve center. If the Rockets' deal included a power forward or center in return (perhaps rookie PF Patrick Patterson), it would have made a bit more sense for the Sixers to pull the trigger.

But as it stands, the 76ers appear headed into the stretch run with the same horses that brought them this far. There are some rumblings that Kapono may be bought out of his deal so that he can latch on to a contender looking for a spot-up shooter.

Regardless of what happens with Kapono, his $6.6 million salary will come off of the books next year, as will the combined $6.1 million currently being paid to Darius Songalia and Tony Battie. While the extra money won't allow them to sign a superstar in the offseason, it will let them make some minor moves without having to worry about the NBA's luxury tax.

But the Sixers aren't thinking about next year at the moment. With 25 games left on their schedule, they have a long road ahead of them as they battle for positioning in the Eastern Conference.

As an organization, they didn't feel any sort of need to do anything at the deadline. The Sixers would rather make their noise in the playoffs.

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