It’s not a move they were expected to make, but it’s one that will help them in the future. With less than 21 hours left until the trade deadline, the Philadelphia 76ers have traded forward Ersan Ilyasova to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for center/forward Tiago Splitter, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
Source: Atlanta's sending a 2017 second-round pick (via Miami) in the Sixers trade. Hawks/Sixers swapping other 2017 second-rounders.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 23, 2017
Splitter has only played in 36 games for the Hawks since being acquired in the offseason of 2015, hampered by recurring calf and hip injuries. He has yet to make his 2016-17 season debut.
Ilyasova was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this season and has been serviceable for the Sixers in his short stint — but had lately been out of favor with head coach Brett Brown due to a hot Dario Saric run in the past few games.
While the trade itself is merely inconsequential, it’s what lies beneath that really stands out. Philadelphia is now loaded with five players at the center position — rookie Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, Richaun Holmes, and now Splitter. This move can signify that the team is close to unloading Okafor to a potential suitor, as Chicago has been quite insistent in acquiring his services, per Wojnarowski.
The addition of Ilyasova, on the other hand, can be the insurance policy needed by the Hawks before trading their dynamic power forward Paul Millsap with less than a day to go in this year’s trade deadline. Stay tuned.