Shawn Long

Sixers trade Shawn Long to Rockets for 2018 2nd-round pick, cash

Sixers trade Shawn Long to Rockets for 2018 2nd-round pick, cash

Let the Sixers' stockpiling of future second-round picks continue.

The team on Wednesday traded forward Shawn Long to the Houston Rockets in exchange for a 2018 second-rounder as well as cash considerations. Long played in 18 games for the Sixers last season, averaging 8.2 points in 12.7 minutes per game on 56.0 percent shooting from the field and 36.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Long, the 2016 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year with Louisiana-Lafayette, was named a 2017 D-League All-Star after a stellar start to the season with the Delaware 87ers. He was called up on March 6 and stuck with the Sixers for the remainder of the season.

The trade is the fifth of the day for the Rockets and Houston general manager Daryl Morey, who already completed a blockbuster deal earlier Wednesday to acquire All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers (see story).

The Sixers now have four second-round picks in next year's draft (three of which they have traded for plus their own) in addition to their first-rounder and the Lakers' top pick, unless it goes to Boston from the Markelle Fultz trade.

Sixers 2016-17 player evaluation: Shawn Long

Sixers 2016-17 player evaluation: Shawn Long

Shawn Long

Position: Center

Status for 2017-18: Non-guaranteed for $1,312,611

Long in 2016-17
Long went undrafted last June and signed with the Sixers for Summer League ball. He stayed with the team through camp and played in seven preseason games before he was waived.

After that, Long spent the majority of his season in Delaware with the 87ers. The Louisiana-Lafayette product made an impression with his standout play down in the D-League. He even earned himself a D-League All-Star nod and was named to the All-NBA D-League Second Team after the season. He put together consistent double-doubles for the 87ers and averaged 20.2 points and 11.1 rebounds over 29.5 minutes. He even scored 45 points in a game at one point.

Still, all of this likely wouldn't have earned him a role if it weren't for injuries. Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor went down with injuries while Nerlens Noel was traded, opening a need for a third center as Tiago Splitter — acquired from Atlanta in the trade for Ersan Ilyasova — rehabbed his way back to the court. 

Making his debut on March 6, Long played in 18 games the rest of the way, putting up 8.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest for the Sixers. He shot 56 percent from the field while stepping out to hit 36.8 percent of his threes, helping stretch the floor for the struggling Sixers. Originally on the team on a 10-day contract, he earned himself a three-year deal that was guaranteed through the end of the 2016-17 season.

Signature game
Long earned one double-double in his 18-game stint. His 15-point, 10-rebound effort came in a loss to the Pacers in late March. His best and most efficient game came two nights earlier.

On March 24, Long needed just 19 minutes to score 18 points on 8 for 10 shooting. He grabbed seven rebounds as well as the Sixers earned a 117-107 win over the playoff-bound Chicago Bulls on the road.

Looking ahead to 2017-18
The Sixers have an offseason to get healthy and that means Long's time with the Sixers may come to at least a momentary end at the beginning of the season. Even if Okafor is traded, Embiid will return next fall alongside Richaun Holmes and the Sixers could easily bring in a veteran — possibly Splitter — to absorb the rest of the team's minutes at center. 

The 6-foot-9 Long won't necessarily be without a job. He'll have the chance to prove himself in summer league or training camp again and potentially earn a look with another team if the Sixers pass. If he does stay in Philly, expect him to be shuttled between the NBA and D-League in order to earn consistent minutes. The developing stretch-five did show something in his limited NBA minutes and likely hasn't seen the end of his NBA career.

On Long
"I think that Shawn Long has really grabbed his brief opportunities and been more than serviceable. He's shown reasons why he should be considered a genuine NBA player."

- Sixers head coach Brett Brown

Sixers recall center Tiago Splitter from D-League

Sixers recall center Tiago Splitter from D-League

The Sixers added some much-needed frontcourt depth Monday, recalling veteran center Tiago Splitter from the D-League.

Splitter, 32, averaged 6.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in two games with the Delaware 87ers. It was his first game action since Jan. 31, 2016. He's missed significant time with a calf injury.

The Sixers acquired Splitter from the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 22 in the Ersan Ilyasova trade. They could use his presence in the paint defensively with Joel Embiid out for the season, Nerlens Noel in Dallas and Jahlil Okafor missing games with knee soreness. 

Richaun Holmes has started with Okafor out, and when he comes out he's been replaced by 6-foot-9 Shawn Long. (Long has had three solid games in a row, averaging 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds against the Thunder, Bulls and Pacers.)

Sixers head coach Brett Brown is a fan of the little things Splitter can provide.

"I think that his fitness most stood out as the negative," Brown said last week. "I think the physicality that he does and what he does well -- he is an elite screen-setter, he is an elite roller, he's an elite passer -- you see hints of that again. But the fact does remain he hasn't played in 13 months."