Former Clemson star K.J. McDaniels traded to playoff contender

Philadelphia 76ers guard K.J. McDaniels (14) tries to fight his way past Boston Celtics' James Young during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

CLEMSON – K.J. McDaniels gambled on himself when he signed a rare one-year rookie contract with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Nearing the end of an impressive rookie season, the former Clemson star will have to prove himself all over again with a different squad.

Yahoo! Sports was the first to report McDaniels was traded on deadline day Thursday to the Houston Rockets in exchange for guard Isaiah Canaan and a second-round pick.

A 2014 all-ACC first-team selection with the Tigers, McDaniels has been a regular on highlight shows for his aerial dunks and blocks, but he’s also been a consistent contributor on the statsheet for the Sixers (12-41), which selected him No. 32 overall in the 2014 draft.

McDaniels is averaging 9.2 points per game, which places him third on the qualified rookie scoring list behind only Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins and Milwaukee’s injured Jabari Parker – who just so happened to go 1-2 in last summer’s draft.

The 6-6 swingman is shooting 40 percent from the floor, averaging 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.

Houston (36-17) is currently tied with Portland for the third seed in the Western Conference standings.

Upon being drafted by Philadelphia, McDaniels signed a 1-year, $507,336 fully guaranteed contract per – which meant if he didn’t pan out with the Sixers, he risked falling into NBA oblivion. Instead, he has a short audition for a playoff contender to sign a long-term, much richer deal in the offseason.