Trading a 23-year-old All-Star point guard with a reasonable contract can seem like a mistake.
Doing it for a big man with leg problems when your recent history revolves around Andrew Bynum, who will be more known for bowling alleys than baselines, also seems dicey.
Jrue Holiday is going to the New Orleans Pelicans for the rights to Nerlens Noel and a protected 2014 first-round pick. Holiday is due $41 million over the next four years and that's incredibly cap-friendly for a guy who's already made an All-Star team before he can rent a car.
But Holiday is never going to be elite. He improved his scoring and assists this season and assumed a bigger role for the 76ers. However, Holiday's ceiling has been reached. I've seen him play enough to know he'll never be elite.
So the Sixers part with that huge chip for the rights to a guy most thought would go No. 1 overall. Noel won't play until Christmas at the earliest, but he's still going to be a defensive difference maker. His offense needs a ton of work, but Philly has time.
They proved that on Thursday.
The Sixers went for a complete and total rebuild. They detonated on the bottom floor and watched it crumble. With Holiday gone and Noel rehabbing, the Sixers starting five next season will be Michael Carter-Williams, a 6-foot-5 rookie point guard, maybe Jason Richardson, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes. If Richardson can't go, then it's probably Turner at the shooting guard and Lavoy Allen or Arnett Moultrie.
That team is going to be atrocious, bottom three in the NBA. Their own pick in 2014, which is lottery-protected, should be no worse than fourth. New Orleans' pick, included in the trade, is protected through the fifth pick, but based on how bad Philly will be, it's the Sixers' own pick that could be No. 1. Realistically, the Pelicans will be good enough to pick somewhere after No. 5, but still in the lottery.
So, in a 2014 draft that's already being hailed as historically great, the Sixers will probably have two top-10 picks. They got two top-11 picks in the 2013 draft, traded a solid, but mildly ordinary player and will have money to burn.
That's a good night.