Philadelphia 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo has gotten busy just prior to the trade deadline by dealing Ersan Ilyasova to the Atlanta Hawks.
It may not have been the biggest name to switch teams this past week. But nevertheless, it was a prudent move on the part of the Philadelphia 76ers.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Sixers agreed to trade forward Ersan Ilyasova to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for center Tiago Splitter and a 2017 second-round draft pick. The deal also involves a pick swap in the second round of the 2017 draft.
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The deal rounds up a quick pit stop in Philadelphia for Ilyasova. He was acquired earlier this season from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for forward Jeremi Grant. In 53 games for the Sixers, Ilyasova averaged 14.8 points and 5.9 rebounds in 27.3 minutes per game, which included 40 starts. During this time he shot 44.0 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from three-point range.
Meanwhile, Splitter has yet to play a game in his second season with the Hawks due to hip and calf injuries. Also, he played just 36 games in first season in Atlanta. Currently in his seventh NBA season, the 32-year-old Splitter was a member of the 2014 San Antonio Spurs team which defeated the Miami Heat for their fifth NBA championship.
It’s been a frustrating 18 months for Ilyasova. He will now be on his fifth team since the commencement of the 2015-16 season. It’s unclear at this stage whether the Hawks view Ilyasova as a short-term fix to complement their bench, or as a long-term solution to provide support for their All-Star forward Paul Millsap. Following the deal, the Sixers sent out the following tweet:
But for the remainder of the regular season and the Hawks’ playoff push, Ilyasova provides head coach Mike Budenholzer and his motion offence with an a terrific, versatile scoring option. At 6-foot-10, Ilyasova can also share the frontcourt with Millsap by having the flexibility to play at both forward spots.
For the Sixers, this deal is multi-faceted. First of all, the Sixers receive a second round pick this year in what is regarded as a very strong draft. They have also managed to obtain the rights to swapping their second round pick with the Hawks. Secondly, the addition of Splitter will provide an excellent source of advice and guidance for the plethora of young big-men on the Sixers’ roster.
Furthermore, the departure of Ilyasova will open up both the starting power forward spot and extra playing time for rookie Dario Saric. Commencing the season as a starter, Saric struggled averaging 9.8 points and 6.0 rebounds on just 38.8 percent overall shooting. Fast forward to his past five games off the bench, Saric posted 20.6 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 52.6 percent overall from the field.
Averaging 27.8 minutes per game during this five-game stretch, Saric’s playing time is likely to rise a reasonable amount given the lingering injuries to fellow rookies Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
With this move, it appears that the Sixers’ GM and president of basketball operations, Bryan Colangelo, has taken a leaf out of the book of his predecessor, Sam Hinkie. He has both moved on the 29-year-old Ilyasova while he still had some value. He has also stored some additional assets for the future.
Overall, this is a positive move by the Sixers and Colangelo.