Monday, February 11, 2008

NBA GM- Philadelphia 76ers Edition

This is the first in a series of articles written by Jeff and I in which we take bottom dwelling NBA teams and outline a plan for them to get to the playoffs next year. Any trades made are verified using logic and the NBA trade machine. First up, I will take a crack at fixing the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Team: Billy King put the Sixers in bad shape through years of bad signings, poor drafts, and even worse fiscal responsibility. Among the major gaffe’s:

1) Re-signing Willie Green to a MONSTER deal.
2) Re-signing Sam Dalembert to an even bigger deal, after 1 good playoff series
3) Trading for an aging Chris Webber
4) Signing Aaron Mckie to a monster deal at the age of 31!!
5) Giving Kenny Thomas ridiculous money
6) Re-signing Kyle Korver to a long-term, multi-million dollar deal. (Oddly, King thought that the combination of Korver, Green, and Dalembert were going to provide a young nucleus for the future. No one else in the world, including the players, thought the same.)
7) Greg Buckner…multi-million dollar deal. Enough said.

Tons more here, but you get the idea.

The Sixers finally decided last year that it was time to blow this thing up. They traded AI for Andre Miller, pieces, and draft picks. Then they drafted some solid players in Jason Smith and Thad Young. They cut ties with the worst GM in professional sports (yes he is worse than Isaiah) in King, and then traded Kyle Korver for picks and Gordon Giracek’s expiring deal.

Despite all of this, the Sixers have played well. Mo Cheeks has done a terrific job with the team and at this writing, the Sixers are 20-30, and a game out of a playoff spot. Though, this is more a function of a terrible Eastern Confrence, not a good team.

The Moves:

Here is the current roster. A couple of things stick out:

1) The Sixers are awfully low on talent
2) They are still paying Aaron Mckie and Chris Webber MILLIONS of dollars.

Still, with Webber and Mckie coming off the books finally, the Sixers are poised to make a big move this offseason. The big question is who they go after, and if they can convince them to play in Philly.

Here is what the Sixers should do:

Trade Andre Miller, Rodney Carney, and Willie Green to Cleveland for Eric Snow, Ira Newble’s expiring contract, and Devin Brown’s Expiring Contract.

The Cavs will make this deal because Andre Miller represents a very good point guard to complement Lebron. They would also pick up a decent young role player/defender in Rodney Carney. Carney has become obsolete in Philly with the addition of Thad Young. The Cavs are in win now mode, and this deal might provide the piece they need to push for a title.

The Sixers need to make this move because they need Willie Green’s ridiculous contract off the books. Essentially, here they would trade Green’s terrible 4 year deal, for Snow’s terrible 2 year deal. They would also pick up 2 expiring deals, and have incredible space this offseason. Snow’s deal would expire next year and the Sixers would get additional space going forward. Miller represents the Sixers best trade asset, and with 2 years left on his deal now is the time to move him. It’s unlikely he would resign with the team anyway, and his value has never been higher. Unfortunately, new GM Stefanski has insisted he won’t move Miller for an expiring deal. That is a mistake.

Sign Elton Brand and Bonzi Wells in free agency

The glaring hole for the Sixers is the 4 spot, and since Josh Smith is going to resign with Atlanta, that leaves Elton Brand as the main PF in free agency. The Sixers need to go after Brand hard. He is only 28, and is great rebounder, and solid double-double guy. He would be a great fit in the Eastern Confrence, and in Philly.

Next, the Sixers need an impact scorer to play off the bench. Bonzi Wells fits the bill, and looks to be the only FA coming available that would be able to provide the instant offense they need. He can be a cancer at times, but he has been a good citizen this year in Houston, and has been a great 6-7th man for them. It might take a lot to lure him away, but at the right price, I think he is worth the risk.

Resign Louis Williams and Andre Iguodala

Louis Williams looks to be the point guard of the future in Philly. He has made solid progress in his two years in the league, and the organization really believes in him. Andre is going to find out this year in free agency that he is not as coveted as he thinks. Most GMs and player personel in the league think he is 2nd option at best, and more likely a third or fourth option. That said, I think if you land Brand, the other AI could fit in very well. The big key here for the Sixers is NOT TO OVER-PAY FOR THESE GUYS. There is no reason to, other teams are not going to be throwing money at them, why should the Sixers?

Draft DJ Augustin and Chris-Douglas Roberts

According to where the Sixers are likely to draft, and Chad Ford’s big board, these are the two draft picks that make sense. DJ Augustin gives the Sixers a solid stable of young PG’s with Lou Williams , and he could develop into a top notch point guard. I know Chris-Douglas Roberts seems a lot like Rodney Carney, but he is not. Roberts has got a well rounded offensive game, and has great handle. He also gives you great versatility with his size. He could develop into a solid contributor, maybe even a starter.

The Squad: Assuming the Sixers pay reasonable money for all the signings, and get Iguodala back at a reasonable contract, this roster is feasible.

Samuel Dalembert
Elton Brand
Thaddeus Young
Andre Iguodala
Louis Williams

Jason Smith
Bonzi Wells
Chris Douglas-Roberts
DJ Augustin
Eric Snow

Obviously, the team would add emergency depth, but I imagine this would be the rotation. There are more moves to make here in the coming years, and with Snow coming off the books it is possible, but I think this squad would get the Sixers back on track.


Mike LeGower said...

Don't forget Glenn Robinson, Keith Van Horn, and Matt Harpring...

Srikant Narasimhan said...

agree, but i actually thought matt harpring played his heart out when he was on the sixers. big dawg and van horn were awful though...King loves him some aging former stars...i could dedicate an entire entry to King's ineptitude.

Mike LeGower said...

true, but Harpring got infinitely better when he left for the Jazz...