By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Sixers agreed on draft night, and perhaps even earlier than that, to trade Jrue Holiday and the player they selected with a second round pick in this year’s draft to the New Orleans Pelicans for the sixth pick in this year’s draft, Nerlens Noel, and a top-five protected pick in next year’s draft.
However, due to the NBA moratorium on trades and free-agent signings, which ended July 10th, the team was not able to announce nor comment on the trade until league approval.
It’s approved. It’s done. Jrue Holiday is a Pelican and Nerlens Noel is a Sixer.
As previously reported, the Sixers will also receive the Pelicans 2014 first round pick, provided it is not the first through the fifth pick. Given their recent improvements, it seems more likely than not that the pick will not be a top-five. The Pelicans also receive the player selected with the 42nd pick of this year’s draft, Pierre Jackson.
Until he slid to the 6th pick, Noel was widely considered to be the top prospect in the draft. Though reports of character concerns have made the rounds, as well as some whispers that Noel’s ACL surgery may not have met the approval of some teams, neither is likely the main reason Noel slid. Dr. James Andrews, who performed Noel’s surgery has been happy with the results, and gone on record as saying he’s ahead of schedule. As for character concerns, those who I’ve talked to don’t see it as a problem, and every concern I’ve seen has either been vague or a description of most 19 year-olds.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, who had the first overall pick, are looking to improve right away, and Noel missing at least half and perhaps all of the season doesn’t allow them to do that. Unable to trade the pick for what they felt was proper value, they took who they believed was NBA-ready. The Magic selected who most felt was the most sure-thing in the draft in Victor Oladipo. The Wizards, like the Cavaliers are not in position to wait a year for Noel. The Bobcats, given their signing of Al Jefferson, also look to improve right away, and took a more NBA-ready prospect in Cody Zeller. Finally, the Phoenix Suns, according to most reports, just valued Alex Len more than they valued Noel.
It seems like the slide for Noel is a result of circumstance, and not anything more. His loss may just be the Sixers gain.
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is going to be fined a reported $150,000 for commenting on the team’s free-agent signing of Dwight Howard before July 10th, so Hinkie’s silence on the issue of this trade seems like it saved Josh Harris a few dollars.