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Sam Dalembert: The Malignancy Grows

deepsixersuede on May 8 at 7:54

Sammy,Sammy,Sammy; Brian your last statement sums up my thoughts, I hope he is here next year because, like the Iggy/Thad experiment[incomplete] the Elton/Sam experiment deserves a shot.There are no other options available out there and my 2 main reasons are 1]players like Sam [B.Wallace,C.Ray and Rodman] need to be surrounded by talent to blend in and not allow their warts to show. 2]Winning cures all wounds,his attitude may turn around completely.I want to make a prediction; if we start winning and get to the 2nd round next year and a new coach with a defensive mindset comes in we may attempt to resign him when his contract is up [3 years, 18 million] At that price his warts are less of an issue, wouldn!t you say.

Time to move on. With just 2 years on his contract, in a league lacking in big men with his skill set, he will be wanted. Of course for a price. We'll have to take on a bad contract but maybe we can also get that extra 1st or 2nd round pick that we would like. Gotta get rid of the cancer to move on in this building process.

John reply to sfw on May 8 at 9:49

If he's a 'big man with skill'

or in the class of a ben wallace, dennis rodman, etc...

why would you trade a guy like that?

sfw reply to John on May 8 at 11:16

John, I said skill set(protect the rim/rebound). Suede compared him to Wallace & Rodman. Also, I think you answered your question later in the Blog on why he should be traded.

I'm not sure he really has a skill set as much as freakish athletic ability. If he had a skill set to go along w/ it, he'd be worth every penny.

John reply to Brian on May 8 at 11:43

That was more my point (and i was trying to answer both posters at once - got it ocnfused - fire evacuations suck) - that if sam had a skill set that was definable and comparable to the players mentioned, i wouldn't want him traded. Their work ethic (by the way, even rodman) is one of the things that makes/made them quality players with limited natural ability - so yeah the work ethic is a factor - Sam doesn't belong int he same category as the originally referenced players - if sam had the work ethic of them, or hell evans (or kyle korver) he'd be a much better player than he is now

Hell, screw the work ethic. If he could just embrace the fact that all he needs to do is attack the glass and protect the rim THAT'S IT, he'd be awesome. Exactly what this team needs.

sfw reply to Brian on May 8 at 13:54

John & Brian, agree with both comments.

sixers phan on May 8 at 10:40


I think we need to give him one more year, with a real coach. he drives me nuts and i want to scream, but let's face it, every Martell Webster in the league would be jamming in Jason Smith's mug ten times a night if we traded Sam and didn't get a real big man in return. That is my fear, that we are actually worse without him. I wish, wish, wish Speights would have shown me that he is at all interested/capable of protecting the rim, but we know he is not and Brand is 6'8. One more year and then worse case he is an expiring contract that has more leverage. It's not like we are going to compete next year anyway.

One another note, i was feeling some of the Ramon Sessions talk on this blog until i looked up his stats. He made less three pointers this season than Andre Miller. Is that possible? If that is true, and i don't want to believe it, there is no way we can even talk about him as an option. The only reason i am ok with moving beyond Andre Miller is the idea of a "one" that has some range. Without it, you have slumping defenses and no offensive flow. Like we have seen in the halfcourt for the past, well, it seems like forever.

Real and Speightacular reply to sixers phan on May 8 at 10:58

Sessions is not a 3pt threat, fair enough. But he doesn't need to be. If your two-guard (or really any other player, potentially even Speights one day) can fit the bill, you just keep moving the ball til that option is available. Sessions is not a lockdown defender but he is at least an average defender so that's already a huge improvement over Miller. Plus he can dish at least as well as Miller and get to the line lots.

Sessions/Thornton/Iggy/Sam/Brand to start? That's a load for anybody, tellin yuh.

We're kind of running out of positions where we can say "someone else can be the three-point shooter" though.

I like Sessions for his penetration and dishing, but I do worry that he'd turn into Andre Miller light.

Real and Speightacular reply to Brian on May 8 at 11:44

Andre Miller light (less scoring, equal or better dishin) but with (way) better defense? Is there something to sneeze at there?

Brand, Iggy. At this point those are the only for sure starters going into next season. Potentially, there's three more spots open for a long distance bomber. Doesn't have to be the point guard.

Doesn't have to be, but every time you add a new starter who can't shoot, you limit your options. I also don't think you can count on your center to be your three-point shooter. A 5 who can stretch the floor is great, but he can't be the primary guy.

Sessions may be an upgrade on defense, he probably is, but I think he'd be a downgrade on offense. Who knows, maybe that's a trade off worth making, just smells like more of the same to me and does nothing to address the biggest problem, no shooters.

I like Sessions game as well. BUT imho 0.18% from 3 isn't going to cut it for this team. Provided there are no major trades-Iguadala, Thad, and Brand will be on the floor at the same time a lot next season. There aren't many 3-point shooting centers (let alone that we could get), so that leaves the point guard spot to stretch the floor for Brand and open the lanes for Iggy/Thad to drive. Hopefully they can fill that spot from the draft and maybe sign a solid shooter to come off the bench.

Statman on May 8 at 10:55

A couple comments about Sam (I'm sure others will have more to say) ...

One aspect of his defense that really hurt the team this year was his poor handling of switches. On the ball, he was by far the best defender among the big men (Theo had his moments but was often overpowered, as attested by his 21+ opponent PER). But it's hard to quantify how many times Sam was late in switching (or didn't switch at all) when his man set picks. Opponents picked up on that and seemed to take advantage of it with regularity.
I wonder if the Sixers would have been better off with a "blitz and recover" philosophy for pick-and-rolls (rather than switch right away).

Regarding the defensive rebounding, the secondary point to be made is that without controlling the defensive glass, it's impossible to fastbreak consistently. We saw that to some degree in the playoffs when Sam sat for long stretches. The average Sixer fan who wants to build the team around Thad and Speights (and there are a lot of them who do) probably doesn't think about defensive rebounding. At this point in their careers, even if Thad plays the 3 and Speights plays the 4, that team would get crushed on the defensive glass unless a prime Wilt Chamberlain were the center.

But Dalembert's importance to the team in terms of defense and rebounding only magnifies the extent of his mental mistakes. The play that stands out in my mind, and one of the turning points of the Magic series, was when he picked up his 4th foul 15 seconds into the 2nd half of Game 5. And it was totally avoidable -- he fouled Turkoglu about 40 feet from the basket, as I recall.

So Brian's analysis is on the mark: on average, the team as constructed needs Dalembert for his defensive rebounding and defense. But you never know when the boneheaded plays and lack of mental focus will show up and hurt the team. The question I would have is whether he is *capable* of better focus when properly motivated (e.g., will we see a different Sam when he's playing for a new contract in two years), or is what we see the best it's ever going to be for him?

Real and Speightacular reply to Statman on May 8 at 11:00

I think he needs a strong personality to help reign him in. Whether that's the coach or a starter. There's no one he respects in that way now.

I have no idea what to think about Sam. He's had 6 coaches in 7 seasons, Larry Brown (for 34 games as a rookie only), Randy Ayers, Chis Ford, Jim O'Brien, Mo Cheeks and now Tony DiLeo.

I can't imagine Brown spent a whole lot of time riding Sammy in his rookie season and none of the other guys on that list strike me as taskmasters. Who knows, maybe if you bring in a guy with a strong personality he can get through to Sammy. So far in his career, he hasn't been held accountable.

I felt like he played his best basketball during Cheeks' second season as coach, when he was working closely with Moses Malone. Maybe bring in a big man coach who is going to ride his ass for a season, then we could possibly see some growth, or if not growth at least a better understanding of what his role is.

That would be a good idea (big man coach to keep sammy in line during the season). I still think this whole team needs a coach who is more of a task master and less of players coach. I don't know who that would be though. Of the names tossed around Avery might be the best at that, but we all heard his interview the other day.

The frustrating thing is that Moses was still around this season, in fact, I think Mike said he saw Sam working with Moses before the Bulls game at the Spectrum. The handful of games I was at, though, Sam never made a pre-game appearance working on anything, whereas in the past, he would've been out there working with Moses. Frustrating.

IF Sam Dalembert would take the off season to refine the small bag of tricks he has and learned to play within himself (You have no offensive game, you can't dribble, you can't post up, if it's not a dunk, don't shoot it) he'd probably be tolerable, but he has yet to demonstrate that he has even a rudimentary understanding of some very basic basketball skills, he was called out indirectly last week by one of his team mates for his off season 'work ethic', and then when he gets benched for playing badly - he cries about it, he's more worried about 'my minutes' than performing well in my opinion.

cant live with him, cant kill him. Can live without him.
Brian you far from depressed you seem optimistic to a fault. But I read you everyday... Thanks for the input.

Do I really seem optimistic to you right now? I'm not feeling very optimistic.

Tom Moore on May 8 at 13:04

Dalembert occasionally shot 3-pointers after practice and even tried to head the ball (he used to play soccer) into the basket, but rarely worked with Ruland or any of the coaches after practice. And he takes the summers off, so improvement from year to year is difficult.

He played his best in the 30 games for Chris Ford because Ford put him on the floor and let him play. That really helped his confidence. He still raves about Ford.

bebopdeluxe on May 8 at 13:14

I want a coach who - if he sees Sammy sitting around the PCOM practice floor bobbing his head to his iPod while others are out there working on their game - will go over and smack those headphones off of his Haitian-azz head.

Tom Moore on May 8 at 14:21

Just got off the phone with DiLeo. He expects to meet with Stefanski in a week or less and declined to say if he's optimistic he'll be back.

"Right now, I’m just going to sit down with him and that’s about it. I have no comment either way."

In an e-mail response, Stefanski said he has "no odds" on the chances DiLeo would remain as coach. "I am speaking with Tony soon and will go from there."

What's your gut feeling, Tom? Byron Scott, Lawrence Frank, two coaches believed to be on the fence, both brought back already by their teams. No word on DiLeo yet.

Mike reply to Brian on May 8 at 15:14

lol scott's coming back to NO. some owner they've got there.

There's nothing wrong with a 58-point loss.

Tom Moore on May 8 at 14:33

DiLeo didn't sound too upbeat and wasn't very talkative. Not sure if it's just not a good day or he's fearing the worst. My guess is there'll be a new coach.

bebopdeluxe on May 8 at 14:59

Don't know if they will get him, but I would really like to see Stefanski pursue Doug Collins...relative to the other options out there, I think he would be the best fit...just don't know if Collins REALLY wants to coach...

Tom Moore reply to bebopdeluxe on May 8 at 15:35

Collins is interesting because he's much more vocal than these Sixers players are used to. Could be a good thing.

Tom Moore on May 8 at 15:25

Here's something else: Stefanski still hasn't heard back from Andre Miller one week after the final team meeting Miller skipped.

Best-case scenario at this point has to be a sign and trade. I'll be shocked if Miller is still on the team for opening day.

Tom Moore on May 8 at 15:30

I said that has to make his return less likely and Stefanski replied, "You'd have to ask him."

Sean reply to Tom Moore on May 8 at 15:38

This just makes me look twice at all the people who call Miller a "team leader." The guy is a great floor manager(though sometimes he seemed to refuse to continue feeding Thad or Dala when they got hot), but how many people could be in a job, pull a no-call, no show and get away with it being okay? I would look for S&T to Portland or GSW.

Miller typically disappears for the Summer. Same thing happened last year. Obviously, being a free agent, this year is a bit different, but I don't know how much we can/should read into it.

It's probably 75-80% that he's gone no matter what, so it's not really a big deal.

Sammy was #3 in reb pct. He was #4 in block pct.

I find it hard to really dig into a guy who does that for his team or question his effort. You don't stumble into that stuff.

My only real major qualm with Sammy is the fouling thing. Cut down on that, so you can play more minutes Sammy and the team will be much better because of it. It would be terrific, as previous posters have said, if he stopped taking fade-aways from the post and didn't throw a ball into the 5th row once every 10 games.

Not much else to say on Sammy. As Brian said, can't live with him, can't live without him. I hate Sammy, but consider his play effective.

I kind of touched on this in the post above, but the excessive fouling problem seems more like an excuse to me in hindsight. He only fouled out of two games, had 5 fouls in 8 others. The fact of the matter is DiLeo gave up on him when he picked up 2 in the first half, 4 in the second half. If he made it a priority to keep Sammy on the floor he would've probably matched his minutes total from last season, and honestly, the team may have won a handful more games.

bebopdeluxe on May 8 at 15:43

Stefanski had a HORRIFIC year...once Brand went down (and with it the realization that we probably weren't going to win an NBA title), everything should have been done with the future in mind...1) Iggy at the 2 and Thad at the 3 - every game; 2) play Speights A LOT (giving Evans all those minutes really helped the long-term development of the team, didn't it?); 3) play Lou at the point to see if he could get a clue; and the biggest one - 4) trade Miller for SOMETHING at the deadline...

I was praying for a Miller-for-Hinrich swap - we get our PG of the future (who can do the two things we desperately need at that spot - shoot from distance and defend), and they get the cap room to re-sign Gordon without paying the lux tax. Instead, we do SQUAT...and we probably have an asset that walks for NOTHING. Was Stefanski concerned that we might not make the playoffs if we trade Miller? Who cares - it would have meant a higher pick.

Play the kids...a LOT. Iggy at the 2 and Thad at the 3 - we STILL don't know if that will work. Can Lou play PG? We could have answered some important questions last season...but Stefanski was more concerned about making the playoffs than answering these questions (and getting something for Miller to boot).

So, Ed...how was that playoff experience? Was it worth it?

A simply pathetic performance by Stefanski.

I don't think Hinrich was ever available, if he was I suppose the deal probably would've been made.

I don't argue with any of the on-the-court things, Thad and Iggy should've spent much, much more time at the 2/3 than they did. I suppose we could've seen more of Lou at the point, but it was just so ugly whenever we did, I don't know.

As for the playoffs, I think if you have a chance to make the playoffs, you do it. All the trade rumors I saw involving Miller at the deadline were pointless. None of them made the Sixers a better team this year or in the future, I'd much prefer getting to the playoffs, getting those games in under playoff pressure for the young guys, then seeing if there's a sign-and-trade possibility in the offseason with Miller. Worst case, we aren't really much worse off if he walks for nothing now than we would've been if we had traded him for a B.S. package at the deadline.

Real and Speightacular reply to bebopdeluxe on May 8 at 21:06

when was the trade deadline? If memory serves, I think the team was on a pretty good streak at the time. enough to tempt one to hold off on anything. but if hinrich for miller was available...?

bebopdeluxe on May 8 at 16:15

The question is whether Miller was ever really available at the deadline...and I guess we'll never know the truth there. My sense is/was that he really wasn't available (unless a ridiculous offer was made), because he either 1) was under the impression that Miller was the right PG for this team (which makes me question his entire viewpoint on this roster) or 2) he really valued getting to the playoffs a lot (as it sounds like you do/did).

For me, this wasn't like the '07-08 season, where getting to the playoffs and having the players have a taste of that experience was important...with Brand out - the guy who we specifically brought in to address the issues we had with our offense in the Detroit series - it was not realistic IMO to expect much in terms of a playoff run. And unlike '07-08, we had many more issues to figure out and decisions on PT and player development to deal with...can Iggy and Thad play the 2 and 3? That wasn't a real question the prior year, because we didn't have a 4 (we have one now)...can Lou play any material minutes at the point, in the event that Miller does not come back next year...does it make sense to give minutes to Reggie Evans at the expense of Maureece Speights (looking at the numbers at 82games.com, the answer to that one is an emphatic "NFW")...

In the '06-07 season, some people were pizzed that Mo tried so hard to win games at the end of the season (hey - it got Joe Smith a nice contract, didn't it?), but I was OK with that, becuase I was willing to exchange a few ping-pong balls to change the culture of the team and remove the stench of the end of the AI era. This past year was different - the Brand injury was a get-out-of-jail-free card to play the kids, REALLY see if there was a market for Miller (instead of just giving lip service to looking for a trade, which is what I think Stefanski did), and answer the "can Iggy play the 2" question...we did none of that, and I would argue that - in many ways - the way the playoffs ended did more harm than good for the team (unless Sammy is someplace right now watching tape and working on his low-post defensive footwork).

It looks like the worst case scenario (bringing both DiLeo and Miller back) will be avoided, but I would argue that this summer is even bigger than last summer, because Stefanski has to get two HUGE things right - a new coach and a new PG. Right now, I have ZERO confidence in the man...

I hope he proves me wrong.

Eh, I'd have rather just tried to just get youth/expiring for AI. then hand Lou the keys at PG and take it from there.

I've really enjoyed watching Miller play. He is one of my favorite sixers from the past 20 years. I just don't think he was the right move for where that team was.

Maybe he helped the progression of the young guys and helped effect a 'Culture Change.' But overall still was the wrong choice IMO.

I think the team gave up on Sam more than he had a bad year.

Sam was Sam. He brought a few needed positives and a bunch of headaches. That did not change.

I believe prior to this year the organization saw some type of learning curve (even if it moved slower than continental drift.) But they decided this year that is was no longer worth giving Sam extra minutes in order to keep soothe his ego and help his progression.

It probably was the right decision for the most part (although he could have helped grab a rebound in some 4th quarters.) Basically they decided he was more of a part time center like Dampier, and did not want him on the floor for 30+ min/game.

deepsixersuede on May 8 at 18:22

Brian, people must be numb of Sam, I thought my resigning him comment would get me ripped. John, those 3 players come to mind when I think of Sam, guys effective down one end of the floor who need a good team around them to be worth having.One of my favorite Sixers, C.Jones, had one move, the jump hook, but used it well.Sam just doesn!t seem to care but B.King should of noticed that before that Pistons series.Just learn one post move Sammy please!!!!

According to Jasner on the Jody Mac show

Sam's trade kicker amounts to a 3.5 million dollar payment with in 30 days of the contract.

As I understand NBA rules - a team can include 3 million dollars cash in a trade straight up.

So - to get rid of sam - if motivated - the sixers could include that 3 million dollar cash and the kicker only costs the receiving team an additional 500K

but does the kicker count fully against the cap?

john reply to Brian on May 12 at 14:32


If i read it properly it adds 1.75 million to the teams cap for the next two seasons?

The value of a trade kicker is calculated only once each season, at the beginning of the season. It does not decrease during the season as salary is earned.

So does that mean sams trade kicker goes down after the first day of the season?

If Sam really wants to 'leave' he does have the option of waiving part of the trade kicker as well - it's in the CBA according to the FAQ

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