Thursday, March 15th 2012. Many Philadelphia 76ers fans once hoped that the arrival of this day would mean the erasing of Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand and their huge contracts off the books. While some fans may still feel that way (mainly with Brand), a trade by tomorrow’s deadline does not seem to be in the plans for the front office of the 76ers.
Truthfully, that may be in the best interest of the CURRENT 76ers team for the remainder of this season.
While everyone appreciates the leadership and hard-work of Elton Brand, his numbers continue to regress and his production no longer reflects his current compensation of $17,059,726 for the 2011-2012 season. In a dream world, Brand would be traded or take a pay cut from the salary that makes him the 12th highest paid NBA player this season. That’s not going to happen.
If the 76ers make any move, it most likely will be miniscule and involve Andres Nocioni or Craig Brackins. Nocioni has an expiring $6,650,000 that teams may be interested in, while Brackins is an unknown that a team may take a chance on to see what he’s got.
Message boards and Twitter have had Brackins and a pick linked to the Sacramento Kings and J.J. Hickson. Sorry for those still dreaming of DeMarcus Cousins donning the red, white, and blue. Hickson proved he can be an asset when he was with the Cleveland LeBrons, averaging 13.8 PPG and 8.7 RPG in 2010-2011. Joining the Kings, he now is stuck behind big-men Cousins and Jason Thompson, another name linked to the 76ers. Keep an eye on those names, but don’t expect the 76ers to get too involved.
With Monta Ellis heading to the Bucks, the Ellis-Iguodala deal can be put to rest, and with Iggy’s play this year, it will be tough to see him go anywhere. His stock is probably as high as its ever been, but the 76ers aren’t stupid. They know that teams have interest in Iguodala because he IS an elite player in the NBA. Iguodala isn’t an elite scorer, but does every other thing as good as anyone else at his position. He dunks, rebounds, passes, and defends better than any other SF not named LeBron James. Don’t expect an Iggy trade now, or for the remainder of his contract here in Philadelphia.
Being realistic, every 76ers fans knows the team isn’t going to be getting Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol. They should be okay with that because to get those players via the trade, the nucleus of the current 76ers would have to be blown to pieces. The nucleus of young players is why the 76ers are the best they have been in years. Yeah, there is no superstar on the roster, but superstars don’t ALWAYS win championships. The Detroit Pistons of the mid-2000′s won a championship with quite possibly the best definition of TEAM basketball. The players became stars, but it was because of the success of their team, not the individuals. The current New York Knicks have a few superstars with great numbers, and look how well they are doing in the standings.
After that little vent, let’s sum the 76ers and their roster up by saying they will add to their team at the trade deadline from within.
Adding Spencer Hawes back into the mix will improve the front court immensely. Nik Vucevic and Lavoy Allen have been a surprise, but Hawes provides a steady presence on the block that they have been missing greatly. It is scary to think Hawes is that important to the 76ers, but is it an illusion that the 76ers have struggled with Hawes out of the lineup? Hawes will be limited in his first couple games back, but getting him back will have a greater impact than a serviceable big-man they may have traded for.
Another addition within is Evan Turner. Everyone knows Turner’s story by now and have seen what he has done as a starter when Doug Collins finally gave him the chance. As a starter he has upped his stat line to 17.0 PPG, 12.0 RPG, and 3.5 APG. His rebounding numbers have been his most impressive feature, but in his four games as a starter he has also ditched the long jump-shot for higher percentage looks around the rim. Including his horrendous 1-12 performance against the Bucks in his first start, he is shooting 49% from the field as a starter. Though he hasn’t showed consistency in his two years in the league, it appears he is figuring it out and raising his level of play definitely adds to the 76ers.
My Take as a Fan:
If you have made it to this point of the post, you probably are a little disappointed I didn’t have a list of players the 76ers might get. I apologize, but I just don’t see it happening by tomorrow. There are players I wish the 76ers would go after like Kris Humphries and Marcin Gortat. They aren’t big names both are great gel players who provide a great presence around the rim. Just look at their numbers.
To end, I want you to just think about two things. What really should the 76ers do? We all like this team because they are playing so well when nobody really expected them to. Would you rather add a star who will gut the team to get them, or get a decent role player who enhances the product we already have? There are some players that would fit the mold for both scenarios, but the team will have to get creative.
About the Author
Written by Mike Rapine
Graduated last year from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Mathematics with a focus in Statistics. I was a member of their baseball team and overall have a sense of sports from not just the average fan's perspective. Born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where we fall in love with our sports teams each year, despite the preconceptions of a playoff demise ultimately happening. Obviously, any opinions are personal in nature and should be taken as my own.