The Sixers currently have the NBA’s worst attendance, and worse than anger, the fans are showing apathy. So the excitement for the release of the NBA’s All-Star Ballots Tuesday has been underwhelming to say the least. Andre Iguodala, Samuel Dalembert, and Elton Brand will be on the ballot for the 76ers. Iguodala will probably get some minimal support, though seeing Brand and Dalembert’s names on the list will get a good laugh from Sixer and NBA fans alike.
Not on the list is Marreese Speights, mainly because he’s not a starter. Although, that may be changing in the very near future. Like I said yesterday Eddie Jordan may be denying it, but he’s certainly experimenting. Speights has seen his playing time increasing almost every game. Guys like Willie Green, Jason Smith, Rodney Carney and rookie Jrue Holiday are gobbling up both Dalembert and Brand’s minutes. Bottom line, Jordan knows he can’t rely on either of them. The hope is the Sixers brass will allow Jordan to keep Dalembert and Brand on the bench in favor of guys who have simply been out performing them.
It didn’t take long for Ed Stefanski to put the Sixers back where Billy King had them, in NBA cap hell. Like King I believe Stefanski has good ideas but when it comes to the big moves he makes the wrong decisions. For years King tried to find a compliment to Allen Iverson, failing so many times it ended up costing him his job and costing the Sixers a near empty return for the super star in a trade with the Nuggets.
Sense the foreshadowing?
Stefanski’s first opportunity to get a big name to compliment the rest of the talent has failed so far. Brand has been either hurt or ineffective since he arrived as a free agent.
I believe Ed saw what he was working with, all the terrible contracts he had inherited from Billy King, and saw the first sign of cap day-light and jumped at the chance to get a “name.” It’s unfortunate that first name happen to be Elton Brand, we all should have known something was up when the Clippers wanted to keep him so badly.
If history has taught us anything, it’s to do the exact opposite of what the Clippers do.
Is there a way out of this?
In a word, no.
No one is going to take on Dalembert’s contract, especially when there is an extra clause in his contract that would pay him more if he’s traded. Who got that contract for Dalembert? And can he come solve all the United States financial problems?
If Brand was entering the final year of his deal he may be attractive to playoff teams looking for some veteran leadership and perhaps a contributing bench player. Unfortunately he’s currently in the 2nd year of a 5-year contract. No one is stupid enough to take that deal on.
Although, there may be one way out, it’s not likely but it seems to be the Sixers only slightly possible chance to get out of this awful mess. Trade either Thaddeus Young or Marreese Speights for practically nothing and insist on either Dalembert or Brand being in the deal.
You’ll get absolutely no value in return for one of your rising stars but you’ll release at least some of the cap pressure from your shoulders.
It’s something Ed Stefanski should be looking into, it’s really his only chance to salvage this team. It’s a difficult move, but the quicker Stefanski admits he’s made mistakes the quicker the Sixers can start rebuilding, again.
About the Author
Written by Mike Santa Barbara
Sports writer covering mostly Philadelphia sports for over 10 years. Work has been featured on RealGM.com, GCobb.com and Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia (CSNPhilly.com.)