ORLANDO, Fla. — Not everything is as it seems. For instance, the Sixers trading for Royce White.
Or did they?
That was the general assumption last week when the Rockets were moving heaven and earth to clear out salary space to fit Dwight Howard onto their roster.
Since new Sixers GM Sam Hinkie was GM Daryl Morey’s right-hand man when the Rockets made White the No. 16 pick in the Draft a year ago, it was immediately thought by many in Philly that Hinkie was making a low-risk bid for a young forward with potential.
His name is Furkan Aldemir, a 6-foot-9, 21-year-old out from Turkey, who came as part of the deal. Aldemir played just over 17 minutes a game last season for Galatasary in the Turkish Basketball League, averaging 5.1 points and 6.8 rebounds. He’s has a live body, a nose for rebounding and is said to have the talent to play in the NBA, which could happen in another season or two. He was a second-round pick by the Clippers in 2012 and traded to the Rockets as part of the deal that sent Lamar Odom to L.A.
Though Hinkie can’t comment on the trade until the free-agent moratorium ends on Wednesday, it would probably be incorrect to say that the deal was primarily about giving a second chance to White. His battle with anxiety disorder was a well-documented tale of discontent last season, when he never played a single minute for the Rockets. By the way, Houston is paying all of the $1.7 million due on White’s contract this season.
While the 6-foot-8 White has skills as a passer and rebounder, the Sixers are not likely to go to the extreme lengths as the Rockets to accommodate his individual needs. Customized buses for road games? An individualized schedule to allow him to travel separate from the rest of the team?
It’s not to say that a franchise that is rebuilding from the ground up wouldn’t welcome a skilled, versatile talent with excellent court vision and a high basketball I.Q. on the front line. But first things first for White. He’s got to show up in Philly and play. Or not. He’s got to show that he’s got to show that he’s serious about having an NBA career. Or not. The truth is, except for the Rockets unloading his contract off their payroll, the trade wasn’t about him.