February 20, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Sam Hinkie doesn't mind uncertainty. In fact, it's something he embraces.

The Philadelphia 76ers' general manager again showed his unconventional approach to rebuilding at Thursday's NBA trade deadline, dealing Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams and rookie K.J. McDaniels for mostly draft picks.

''What we're looking to do is build something that can go deep into May and even into June,'' Hinkie said during a news conference Friday, his first time addressing the media since September. ''And to do that, it will require us to make tough decisions and be comfortable with uncertainty.''

The Sixers don't know yet know the players they'll be able to acquire with their extra draft choices, or even when they'll get to make those picks.

Carter-Williams was dealt to the Bucks as part of a three-team trade. In exchange, the Sixers landed this year's Lakers' protected first-round pick, which was owned by Phoenix. If the pick ends up being in the top five - which is likely since the Lakers have the league's fourth-worst record - it will roll back to 2016 or 2017 when it becomes top-three protected.

Still, even if the Lakers improve next year and the pick moves into the teens, Hinkie believes it was a risk worth taking. But that didn't make it any easier to say goodbye to Carter-Williams, who has been one of the team's few bright spots over the past year and a half.

''The only way we would have ever moved him is if someone blew us away,'' Hinkie said. ''We've rejected offer after offer over the last year and more. But something came along, and the thing that came along is something that's really scarce. Those picks do not move around much. It's almost impossibly hard to get your hands on a pick that at least has a chance to be a high lottery pick.''

The Sixers also nabbed Oklahoma City's protected 2015 first-round pick, along with JaVale McGee's hefty contract and the rights to Chukwudiebere Madaubum, in a trade with Denver for the rights to Cenk Akyol. That pick is top-18 protected this year and top-15 protected in 2016 and 2017, before it would become a second-round pick in 2018 and 2019.

Factoring in their own selection and the Miami Heat's top-10 protected pick they acquired in a trade earlier this season, the Sixers could end up with four top-20 picks in this June's draft if things break right.

''We will not bat 1.000 on every single draft pick,'' Hinkie said. ''We also have them by the bushel-full.''

One pick Hinkie did seem to hit a home run with was last year's selection of McDaniels with the 32nd selection. But the general manager still decided to trade the electrifying rookie to the Houston Rockets on Thursday for point guard Isaiah Canaan and the lesser of Minnesota's or Denver's 2015 second-round picks.

Some thought that trade may have been done because McDaniels was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. But Hinkie said the main reason was that he liked the value of receiving both a past second-round pick - Canaan went 34th overall in 2013 - and a future second-round pick.

And Canaan is a player that fits an immediate need at point guard with the departure of Carter-Williams.

''I don't want to oversell him on a day our starting point guard leaves,'' Hinkie said. ''But he's an interesting prospect. He is anything but a throw-in. He is someone we chased in the draft with similar zeal to other players and someone we have high hopes for.''

Even if Canaan thrives with his new team, he certainly has reason to believe he may not last long in Philly. Since taking over as general manager in 2013, Hinkie has traded two talented young point guards in Jrue Holiday and now Carter-Williams while focusing on hoarding draft picks and spending little money.

The Sixers finished the 2013-14 season with the NBA's second-worst record and, at 12-41, currently own the league's third-worst mark. But the team picked what they believe to be franchise cornerstones in the last two drafts in big men Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid.

And they're now poised to reel in another big-time draft pick . or three.

''We're all focused on the same thing - like how we do build something really special?'' Hinkie said. ''How do we build something that can win at the highest level? . And how do you have the fortitude not to take shortcuts? We talk about that a lot.''

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