As Nerlens Noel slipped down the draft board, the Philadephia 76ers saw the perfect opportunity to steal him.
The New Orleans Pelicans selected Noel with the 6th overall pick of the draft, but even as he was putting on his Pelicans cap, he was already, unknowingly, headed to Philadephia.
A brief recap of the trade: the Sixers acquire Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round pick from New Orleans; the Pelicans acquire all-star point guard Jrue Holiday. The pick involved is top-5 protected in 2014.
What does this trade mean for both teams?
For Philadephia, it likely means that they are done with the Andrew Bynum experiment. Noel is coming in as Bynum's replacement that will hopefully spend more time in a Sixers jersey than he will bowling
Giving up Holiday is a surprising move. Holiday had a breakout season last year, even making the all-star team. Philadephia signed him to a 4-year extension last fall, and it seemed like they would be building around Holiday.
Now, they will be looking to build around Noel and their pick in the 2014 draft. A 2014 first-round pick is a coveted and valued asset in the league right now; that draft is projected to have multiple can't-miss all stars, and even more that can be franchise cornerstones. Acquiring this pick and Noel for Holiday likely means that the Sixers are looking more toward the future.
As for the New Orleans Pelicans, they sent a clear message that they want to win now. They expect the acquisition of Holiday to push them over the hill, and they don't expect to be back in the lottery next year.
But are the Pelicans even likely to make the playoffs next year?
If Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis stay healthy next year(a big if), the Pelicans will have a core of Gordon, Davis, Holiday, and Ryan Andersen. In an ultra-competitive West, that lineup might not be enough.
Overall, the trade does not seem too lopsided. Both teams got what they wanted: New Orleans got a young, all-star point guard to lead the team, and Philadephia got their building blocks for the future.
The winner of the trade will likely depend on Noel's development. If he can recover fully from his ACL tear and develop into an all-star center, Philadelphia would have gotten a steal.