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Save the Franchise: Hindsight from Sixers Offseason

Posted By Christopher Rowe On Oct 29 2010 @ 4:23 pm In NBA,Philadelphia,Philadelphia 76ers | 2 Comments

[1]

25-year anniversary of 1982-83 Champs...since then... nothing

All right… fine… the rumors were not true… Andre Iguodala did NOT request/demand/insist or provide any kind of ultimatum regarding his desire to be traded. The question that arises for me would be “Why the hell not?” Why would Iguodala, a solid if unspectacular player want to continue playing for a moribund team like the Philadelphia 76ers that is flailing about in a sea of quicksand and weighted down by ridiculous contracts?  The only way out is to take out an insurance policy, pour gasoline on this franchise and set fire to it – hoping for a big payout!

[2]

Iguodala is the only tradable commodity that could save the Sixers franchise

NBA is not my beat but I’m still a Philly sports fan – and I’ve watched this team since the perrenial contenders of the 1970s to the World Champions of 1983. In recent years, the slide has taken them from the NBA finals in 2001 to absolute oblivion. When the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Evan Turner with the second overall pick this past June, one question became the major focus for the upcoming season:

How will Turner fit with Andre Iguodala?” Granted, a lot of people asked a different question: “Does Philadelphia still have an NBA team?”

[3]The Sixers had the option of never having to figure out an answer to that question. They should find a way to package Elton Brand and Iguodala – along with their insane contracts – and fully commit to a rebuild. The Sixers chose not to take advantage of a buyer’s market and trade Iguodala this summer.

[4]

Elton Brand is owed more than 50 million dollars on his current Sixers contract

While LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all committed to Miami to form the NBA version of the SuperFriends, there was plenty of activity to be had this summer, especially on the trade market. Teams like the Pistons, Timberwolves, Magic, and Raptors were openly shopping players this summer, hoping to find buyers. The Sixers should have dumped salary and start over for the Doug Collins Era. Until then, nothing will change. This team bereft of basketball talent and handcuffed by the salary cap

Reportedly, the Sixers have slapped the “For Sale” sign on Elton Brand, but they’ve got to realize at this point that no team will take the three years and $51 million left on Brand’s contract. With Brand more-or-less untradeable, Iguodala’s left as the Sixers’ ONLY viable trade prospect.

Summer is over and the season has begun, but here, in no particular order, are five potential Andre Iguodala trades the Sixers should have made:

Andre Iguodala for Al Jefferson (Minnesota Timberwolves)

[5]

Al Jefferson of Minnesota could be a fit in Philadelphia

David Kahn, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ GM, had all but announced that Al Jefferson will not be a member of the team’s long-term future, and thus, could be had at the right price. If the acquisition of Kevin Love and the re-signing of Darko Milicic didn’t guarantee that, the trade for Michael Beasley did.The Sixers should take advantage of Big Al’s situation by shipping Iguodala to Minnesota for Jefferson.

There’s no way Kahn says no to this trade, given his sudden fascination with small forwards (he drafted four this year). In all likelihood, Kahn would slot Iguodala at SG with Wesley Johnson at SF, having Corey Brewer and Martell Webster coming in off the bench at the two and three, respectively.

For the Sixers, Jefferson would give the team the low-post presence they thought they’d be getting with Elton Brand, and would clear up time at the three for Thaddeus Young. While a frontcourt of Brand and Jefferson would likely result in the same defensive problems as a Love-Jefferson tandem, the Sixers could negate the effects by having personnel flexibility.

Their salaries are about equal (Jefferson has three years and $42 million remaining and Iguodala has four years and $56 million remaining), and each team fills an area of need by trading away a player of excess. Of all the trades listed here, this one is likely the best value for both teams.

Andre Iguodala for Hedo Turkoglu (Toronto Raptors)

[6]

Turkoglu could be a fan favorite at Wells Fargo... once the fans show up for Sixers games

Earlier this summer, Hedo Turkoglu told a Turkish TV station that he wanted freedom from Toronto before the start of the season. Please, Toronto, allow the Sixers to take Turkoglu off your hands.

The Raptors, after losing Chris Bosh in a sign-and-trade to Miami, have a “mish mosh” of talent that won’t be competing for a championship any time soon. Iguodala’s used to those settings, and the Raptors would be particularly devoid of small forwards after Turkoglu’s departure (with only Antoine Wright left).

The Sixers, on the other hand, would acquire a small forward that would fit in much better with their offensive scheme. Turkoglu can stretch the floor as a career 38.3 percent shooter from downtown, and while he’s more than capable of handling the ball, he also thrives in a catch-and-shoot role.

The Raptors just slipped under the cap after losing Bosh, so the differential in salaries (Turkoglu’s signed to a five-year, $53 million contract) shouldn’t affect the trade. If the Raptors are committed to trading the disgruntled Turkoglu, they could acquire Iguodala, use their trade exception from the Bosh sign-and-trade to get another quality player, and be well on their way

Andre Iguodala for Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons)

[7]

Detroit is a team going nowhere and loaded with old, heavy contracts

The Detroit Pistons have broken out the “For Sale” sign on two of their championship-team stalwarts from the 2004 squad, as they’ve been searching for takers for Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton. That made the Pistons a perfect candidate for a small forward swap with the Sixers this summer. Much like Toronto, Detroit’s a team largely without direction, as they’re stuck between their ’04 players (Prince, Hamilton, Ben Wallace), their younger draft picks, (Austin Daye, Greg Monroe, Rodney Stuckey), and their free agency mistakes from last year (Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva).

Iguodala would provide the Pistons a clear building piece for another team-centric squad (like the 2004 team), and he plays the gritty, scrappy defense that Detroit respects. Philadelphia would value Prince for his championship experience first and foremost, but the fact his contract expires at the end of next season doesn’t hurt his case either. Given that Philly just sacrificed Samuel Dalembert’s $12 million expiring contract in a recent trade to the Kings, they’d re-open over $20 million of cap space after next season with Prince.

The Sixers would get a veteran and a champion, who could impart his knowledge upon the Sixers’ youngsters, while the Pistons would get a great number three option for an expiring contract. Their salaries match up well enough that the trade could go through, despite the fact that both teams are already over the cap.

Andre Iguodala for DeAndre Jordan and a 2011 No. 1 pick (L.A. Clippers)

[8]

Can the Clippers actually do something successfully?

If the Sixers are looking to go the salary dump route, the Los Angeles Clippers have the ideal assets to make a trade for Andre Iguodala still somehow worthwhile for Philly. The Clippers find themselves about $15 million under the cap after factoring in their Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes signings and have a huge need at small forward.  Besides, they have a history of screwing up the draft.

Despite drafting Al-Farouq Aminu with the eight overall pick, adding veteran SF Iguodala would give the Clippers one of the stronger starting fives in the league. The Clips are so far under the cap, so the Sixers don’t have to receive fair value (contractually) in return, and could take a project center and a future first round pick to help towards their eventual rebuild. In DeAndre Jordan, the Sixers acquire a project center to pair alongside Spencer Hawes in their quest to find a replacement for Samuel Dalembert. Naturally, the Sixers will want a little more than the No. 35 pick from the 2008 draft for the face of their franchise over the past few seasons. The Clips could send their 2011 first-round draft pick to the Sixers without lottery protection, as an attempt to even the value.

The Sixers don’t make this move without fully committing to a rebuild, as they’d be completing a straight salary dump here. If they’re going that route, acquiring a first-round pick and a project like Jordan isn’t such a bad haul for Iguodala, a guy who’s become expendable for the Sixers.

Andre Iguodala for Emeka Okafor (New Orleans Hornets)

[9]

Could Okafor be the centerpiece in a new Philadelphia future?

In this trade, the Hornets and the Sixers would essentially be swapping slightly bloated, long-term contracts to fill positions of serious need. When the Hornets shipped Morris Peterson to the Oklahoma City Thunder on draft night, they left themselves with James Posey and not much else at small forward (unless you believe this is the year Julian Wright finally breaks out).  Adding an athletic SF like Iguodala alongside the tandem of Chris Paul and David West would give the Hornets some semblance of a Big Three to build around.

[10]

Evan Turner was the #2 overall pick

The Sixers traded away their only defensive center in Samuel Dalembert to the Kings before the draft, and are headed into the season with major questions in the front court. (Who’s the starting center, for one?) With Okafor on the roster, they’d have a clear starting four and five in Brand and Okafor, and Thad Young could slide over to the three with Iguodala gone.

Neither team will financially benefit from the deal, but both address areas of concern (the Hornets add scoring and playmaking—the Sixers add defense and rebounding).

[11]

Jrue Holliday at Draft Day

 This is likely the best deal the Sixers can manage because they trade a starting player for another starter in an area of need. Salary cap continues to shackle management and they are locked into a negative pattern until they make a change. However, they may be better off waiting until the trade deadline to see if Iguodala can boost his trade value in the first half of this season.  How long do you wait to begin the future of the franchise?

[12]

Luol Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls might be the best option of all if the Sixers can pull off a trade

Clearly this team is in need of an infusion of talent. Until they shake loose some contracts the salary cap will continue to handcuff the franchise. They have existed in perpetual mediocrity for years. In “good” seasons they make the playoffs as the 8 seed and lose. In “bad” seasons, they get 39 wins, miss the playoffs and get a 16th pick. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.

What about sending Andre Iguodala to Chicago even up for Luol Deng????

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