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Not Even Close

It's really beginning to be fun watching this team again. Read somewhere yesterday that the only way the Sixers move Igoudala is if someone takes Brand with him. I 100% agree with this philosophy. Sixers certainly aren't good enough to compete for a championship, but they aren't so hopeless that it's worth *giving* away our best player without the other team also taking our worst asset (as far as contract goes). This got me thinking - what team would possibly take both Igoudala and Brand? Based on the frontcourt strength on the Eastern Conference's contending teams (Bos, Orl, Chi) and the lack thereof in Miami, wouldn't Atlanta be better off with Brand then Josh Smith, given the style of half-court basketball it will take to win in the playoffs? And I think we all would agree Igoudala is a far superior player than Marvin Williams. So what about this deal: Igoudala, Brand, Lou Williams for Crawford, Marvin Williams, and Josh Smith? I think Josh Smith would fit so nicely with our team, Marvin at 7m per yr isn't horrible, and Crawford is an expiring. I don't know, I felt like this was a deal that made sense for both teams. Not to mention, Lou Williams would Atlanta homeys would increase their attendance by like 2K per night!

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sfw reply to Marty on Dec 13 at 9:30
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Marty, agree with you on that approach but I doubt that trade will ever be on the table. I would do it though if I was the Sixers.

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Marty reply to sfw on Dec 13 at 9:39
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I'm sure you are right. Atlanta would be adding like 4M in overall salary, so not sure where that would put them in terms of the luxury tax. I just don't know how, if you're Atlanta, you can look at your team and truly believe you can compete against those other 4 teams in the East (Boston, Orlando, Chicago, and Miami). I can't see any other deal that would make sense for both teams except for maybe Igoudala and Brand to Utah for Kirilenko and Millsap. But Millsap is playing so well, I can't see Utah doing it based only on the Igoudala upgrade.

It's nonsensical to link one with the other and makes a lot of sense if you are happy with the franchise roster and the direciton the way it is.

Honestly, I think it's an asinine thought process to say if you take Iguodala you have to take brand, it makes a trade impossible so the sixers franchise can continue to tread water as a mediocre low playoff seed with no cap space or ability to improve because ownership won't go over the luxury tax.

Oh boy

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deepsixersuede on Dec 13 at 9:41
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After these last 2 weeks I expect this team to play 500 ball and get into the playoffs if kept together. My question is is there more upside with this team than the A.Miller/Sam led group? With Brand the only veteran contributor in the top 8 can this young core just be added to without breaking it up and is it even possible financially?

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dwhite reply to deepsixersuede on Dec 13 at 9:53
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I think Kapono and Songaila are expirings? So that's about 10-11 mil, sadly Nocioni's contract lasts one more season. It'd be nice to dump Noc for an expiring, somehow, but I don't think teams are that stupid. Throw in Lou Williams in a deal w/ Noc for expirings and you might be looking at 20 plus million in money to throw around next year.

That's not how it works. The Sixers are over the cap now, and I believe if the new CBA is the same as this one, they'll be just under next year. The most they'd have to spend is $5-$6M, or a mid-level exception type player, if those even exist. And that's only if they don't extend either Hawes or Thad, or both.

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Marty reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 9:58
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Brian, are both Thad and Hawes restricted FA's? So we can sit back and wait to see if any teams offer them a contract, right? I think that should be the approach. What's the rush to sign them long-term. I'd rather let the market decide their worth and then look at whether that contract makes sense in the whole scheme of things.

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dwhite reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 9:59
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So even with contracts going off the books, the cap situation is still THAT bad?

It remains to be seen how bad it is. Right now, they're hovering just below the luxury tax level, but above the cap. Next year, if the cap stays the same (which it probably won't), they'll be just below the cap. So they'll have a ton of space to absorb contracts before they get to the luxury tax, but they won't have enough money to sign a significant free agent with it.

If they don't extend Thad and Hawes, and let Nocioni expire, then they'd have decent cap space the following season, again, assuming the new CBA is the same or similar.

They aren't in that bad of shape, but really, nothing big is going to happen until after next season, or the year after when Brand and Lou Williams come off the books. Although, I think there's at least a moderate chance that Lou opts out after next season.

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deepsixersuede reply to dwhite on Dec 13 at 10:00
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I believe they have 53 million paid out next year not including Thad, Hawes, Meeks and a possible draft pick so if Lou could be moved for a late #1 it would help. But Lou lately has been looking for Thad and they are a real weapon off the bench together. We finally have enough scoring to allow Iggy to do his thing and it is beautiful to watch.

I agree, I don't necessarily want to see Lou moved. I think our guard rotation is our strongest suit and he fills a need more nights than not.

It's a really good question. Their upcoming road trip will be a killer - @Orlando, @Chicago, @Boston (2nd night of a back-to-back) and @LA Lakers to wrap up the month. If they can go even 4-4 on that trip, it would be a success. I kind of feel like they've dug themselves a bit too big of a hole, but who knows, the bottom half of the East is so bad, they might sneak into that 8th spot. Question is, is it worth it? And if they decide to keep the team together, how can they add pieces being over the cap for at least another year?

I'll be thrilled if they win more than 2 in that horrific 9 game span in second part of december.

vs LAL
@ORL
@CHI
@BOS
@DEN
@GSW
@PHO
@LAL
@NOH

of which three are second nights of back to backs (@ORL, @BOS, @GSW). The shedule is just ridiculus this season.

It's probably going to be possible to to keep this group together, all you'd really need to do is extend Thad (and Hawes if you're counting him as a part of the core). It would depend on how much you pay to extend Thad as to what type of pieces you could add.

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deepsixersuede reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 10:06
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The team added a legit coach and front office guy so when do they bite the bullet and spend into luxury tax area or whatever exists in the new cba ? What level does this team have to reach or what attendence figures?

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deepsixersuede reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 10:10
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Brian, Hawes is teasing us and I don't know what to make of it. How did he look live guarding West? In spite of limited rebounds I thought he did well man to man yesterday.

He looks slow and pitiful in person, to be honest. Despite the improved play recently, I still want no part of extending him.

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deepsixersuede reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 10:25
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His personality lends itself to the Shaun Bradley's and Thabeet's of the world, two guys that are said to not love basketball enough to put everything into it and that, more than his game scares me.

We're going to learn so much about this team in the next couple of weeks, and what we learn will have a lot to do with trade options. If the team looks better, all of its players look more valuable. For that reason, I would not rush into trading anyone right now, unless they get a ridiculous, Memphis-like offer (which they won't).

http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=18169

So we are now looking to trade our young players for veterans? Hoopsworld never stroke me like a very reliable site, but could there be any truth to it. I am in general opposed to this, unless the young players moved are not part of the core of the future. This means outside of Jrue, Turner and possibly Thad (Hawes and Meeks are still being evaluated), everybody else is available. If someone of Lou, Speights and Brackins along with an expiring can net us someone who can contribute and is under 30, i'll be ok with that trade.

We are not going to be players in free agency anyway (nor do i think that's a smart way to go). And i don't see how this can possibly hamper our future.

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deepsixersuede reply to Xsago on Dec 13 at 11:31
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Brackins being brought up may mean a trade is brewing or Spieghts may be headed to the D league. I offer two trades that may be doable if a defensive big is what they want;

A #2 pick or picks for J.Dorsey; Amir Johnson, Ed Davis and R.Evans seem to limit Dorsey's courttime.

Spieghts and Brackins for Thabeet; Insurance for Z.Randolph leaving and Memphis already has a 3rd center [Haddadi]

Both these additions are young so I am okay with them. I don't want to acquire somebody that won't be here 3 years from now.

I don't believe Speights CAN be sent to the d-league - I think it's limited to players in their first two years (who are on rosters) which is one of the sillier things about the d-league.

You can trade brackins even if he's in the d-league, it maybe just mean the sixers think the d-league is a waste of time

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deepsixersuede reply to GoSixers on Dec 13 at 12:00
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It just seems weird to bring him up now; have minutes opened up at all in the last week? It seems the rotation has tightened. Your last comment makes the most sense though, that he gets better coaching in sixer practices and benefits more from that.

that he gets better coaching in sixer practices and benefits more from that.

That isn't what I said.

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deepsixersuede reply to GoSixers on Dec 13 at 12:08
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When you said the D league is a waste I thought you meant in developing a player; sorry.

I believe the sixers see it as a waste of time. If Brackins was called up just to be inactive for all games - that's foolishness

Since Thad's play has improved, hopefully, so has his value. Maybe, he alone could get a young big(Thabeet, Thompson,?)if his improved play continues.

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deepsixersuede reply to sfw on Dec 13 at 12:06
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Looking at our roster and our coaches comments on Thad, I think a defensive, role playing big for our bench may be the target; Turner could grow into a perfect Iggy like jack of all trades between Lou and Thad and a big that screens and defends the rim in Spieghts place may be the piece that they are targeting.

I like the fact they want Iggy here. They must have confidence this group can grow and Iggy is doing what Collins wants.

Thabeet? REally? Thabeet?

Hawes and Speights are BOTH better than Thabeet

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sfw reply to GoSixers on Dec 13 at 12:12
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Looking for a young big with a defensive upside. Who do you suggest?

So you think Haseem Thabeet has defensive upside?

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sfw reply to GoSixers on Dec 13 at 12:20
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I haven't seen him play and frankly who has? He's not getting much time. I hope he has some upside to be drafted where he was. Who do you suggest?

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deepsixersuede reply to sfw on Dec 13 at 12:18
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After reading T.Moores article on Spieghts taking too many jumpers I found it comforting that his first touch was on the block and drew 2 foul shots. But he resorted back to his jumpshooting ways the rest of the game.

John, when do you think our coach gives up on him? He seems to try to incorporate what they want but reverts back to the same old habits. He may be wearing Collins out.

I believe Speights is the prime trade candidate at this point. I'm not sure what his value is right now, but my guess is something similar to Thompsons value (maybe a bit less). Thompson doesn't have much value though :(

Jason Thomopson isn't worth Jeff Teague.

How much is speights worth then?

That was exactly my thought :(

Brian, thanks for the in-person recap. How close are you to going "all in" with this team and rooting for them to do as well as possible? I'm pretty close myself (though I tend to root for good play from the Sixers as a matter of course). Right now, the Sixers are playing as well as they have at any time since that stretch in January '09 when they blew out the Blazers and Spurs in the middle of a 14-4 run (that, coincidentally, began with them 7 games under .500, which is where they are now). It would one thing if they were winning close and losing badly, but it's just the opposite, which supports the notion that they are close to being a very good team. This next stretch will tell a lot; I'm interested to see how they do.

A few comments on the game and the team:
* I liked Turner's game and was most encouraged by his passing. He hit a few long jumpers, which may or may not happen with consistency, but he made a couple nice diagonal passes that showed good court vision. If he's going to come in for Iguodala for now, it's nice that he played like Iguodala in this game.
* I was intrigued by the seeming cross-matchup of Hawes on West and Brand on Okafor. It made a lot of sense in retrospect: West is a softer player while Okafor is more physical but more limited. As it was, the defense in the post worked to perfection in this game (though some of it was that the Hornets just missed a lot of easy shots).
* Too funny about Willie's game. Ironically, I thought he took some pretty good shots (including a few penetrations), but he just missed them all. Maybe he's still a Sixer in secret? And I guess the Hornets have figured out what Jason Smith is (remember all the talk about his play early in the season?).
* I remember a couple seasons ago when Ariza was thought of as a poor man's Iguodala. Destitute man's Iguodala is more like it.
* It should be noted that the recent run has come with Jrue not playing his best ball. They'll need him to step up if they are going to win with consistency.

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deepsixersuede reply to Statman on Dec 13 at 12:56
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Statman, is it possible that Turner becomes the perfect compliment to Lou and Thad off the bench and thrives and stays in that role. A lot of good teams [B.Jones and our sixers come to mind] don't start their top 5 guys and Meeks, though nowhere near Turner talent wise, compliments our starters.

G.Karl did it in Seattle, bringing Scrempt off the bench at times. How would our fan base react to that. If he and Iggy can't coexist for long stretches this could be the solution.

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deepsixersuede reply to deepsixersuede on Dec 13 at 13:06
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Harden, a top 5 pick, is in a similar situation now.

Suede, how far back do you go with the Sixers? Bobby Jones was one of my favorite Sixers of my childhood. They switched back and forth between starting him and bringing him off the bench, because he meshed well with just about anyone.

I think the Turner-Lou-Thad combo can be a potent force off the bench, but it depends on what we've all been talking about: how well Turner can play when he doesn't have the ball all the time. In the NO game, I thought he was effective in either getting off a good shot or making a good pass, and he rarely started the play. That bodes well if he can keep it up.

As for how the fanbase will react, I really don't think the Sixers should think about appeasing the fans. I strongly believe 99.9% of Philly fans know less about basketball than Doug Collins (Eddie Jordan, another story). Philly fans will respond positively to winning ...

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deepsixersuede reply to Statman on Dec 13 at 13:53
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Early 70's and the 9 and 73 team was my starting point; it may be why I am an eternal optimist. Case in point see my back and forth with Brian this summer trying to defend Hawes. :)

I don't understand how this team will ever become great if we hold on to Iguodala and Brand. Perhaps the idea is that Turner will become a star and Jodie Meeks will become Michael Redd. Or that when Brand's deal expires a superstar will come to sign with us. Maybe someone could explain it to me.

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deepsixersuede reply to Tray on Dec 13 at 13:19
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With what Miami just did can any team out-star them? Maybe becoming real good defensively is the only way, and waiting till Boston, who defends and has stars, gets old.

You don't have to, because Miami's collection of stars, while good enough to win a ton of games, isn't really an optimal pairing (tripling?). You can beat them with a better combination of less gifted stars and the right role players. For example, San Antonio could beat them right now, and their best player now is probably Ginobili.

How will the team become great if we get rid of them? Lucky bounce in the lottery gets us the #2 pick? How many #2 picks is it going to take to become great?

Whether we get rid of them or keep them, this team isn't going to be great in the next three years. Seems kind of arbitrary that you're connecting keeping them with holding the team back from some imaginary greatness. Either way, it's a crap shoot. There's as much to be said for developing your core (especially when they're this young) as there is to putting the worst team you can on the floor in the hopes that the next time we get lucky in the lottery it'll be the second coming of Wilt who's waiting to be drafted.

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Marty reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 13:37
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In the column under 'crazy', how's this for a thought: Blake Griffin is under contract for two more years. The Clippers are a mess. NO WAY he stays with that franchise. How about making our team as good as possible while maintaining that cap flexibility post-Brand contract so that we can trade for or sign the guy. Who knows, maybe he "demands" a trade at some point? I think I'm in the school of thought that we keep this team intact, add a contributing big (if we can) unless a team like Atlanta comes along and will take Igoudala AND Brand from us and give us back a long-term piece (Josh Smith).

I doubt Griffin goes anywhere before he's an unrestricted free agent the following year. The Sixers could offer him a max contract as a restricted free agent, but that's a relative bargain and I think the Clippers would be happy to match, keeping Griffin off the market for another five seasons.

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Marty reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 13:58
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My point was there's no way he's staying in LA for his whole career. So he either becomes a FA when Brand's contract expires OR he pulls a Melo in two years and tells LA "I'm out of here after the season so either trade me or lose me for nothing" and then say if he goes to Team X, Y, or Z he'll sign an extension. I'm not saying the strategy should be Griffin or bust, but to put ourselves in the position to have a young, competitive team with cap flexibility and tradeable assets so that in two-three years we can make a move for Griffin OR another disgruntled superstar. I don't think "blowing up" the team is the right thing to do know. I would be in favor of trading assets though if it meant getting us a long-term piece upfront (Millsap, Josh Smith, or even Favors) to pair with Jrue.

Yeah, we're on the same page. I'm just not sure the timing will work w/ Griffin. That would be nice, though. I'd love to see Jrue play w/ a big like that.

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Tray reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 13:54
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It could take just one pick to become great if it's the right pick. As we've been over countless times, almost every team that's won an NBA title in the past couple decades did so with a superstar that they drafted themselves. Or they somehow managed to assemble a trio of stars via trade, or they got lucky and traded for the best defensive player of the era (Wallace) and assembled a great defensive team around him. Or they already had one superstar and got traded another. No one's trading us the likes of a Garnett or Ben Wallace or Pau Gasol. As for a young core, keeping your young core together makes sense if it actually is a real core, one where you have answers at several positions down the road, and it already contains a potential franchise player in it somewhere. To the extent that Turner just might be that, you don't trade him, of course. But if you're already paying part of your "young core" a huge salary and if he's already been in the league for seven years, that's not a young core anymore. Besides which, we just don't have that much young talent. We have a point guard. We have a rookie guard who had a great college career; other than that, the most optimistic thing you can say about him is that his future is a mystery. We have Lou, whose huge flaws cancel out most of the good he does. In some imaginary ideal world, he becomes a good 6th man. We have a tweener forward who comes off the bench and scores efficiently. Meeks may or may not be good enough, in the long run, to be a third guy off a contender's bench. And obviously our coach thinks very little of Speights. That's not really a young core, that's an answer at one position, a total question mark at another, and the beginnings of a solid NBA bench. And then there's Iguodala, who will prevent you from (a) getting bad enough to add any really good young player to that "core," or (b) signing anyone good for several more years.

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Marty reply to Tray on Dec 13 at 14:13
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Problem is, that "one" player from the draft usually doesn't mature for 4-5 years. There are no more Tim Duncans. Everyone knew Kevin Durant was a stud and he is, but do you see anyone in college today you feel that sure about? I don't. I also think we're all getting a little too excited. It's very possible the Sixers lose another ten games before the New Year. I'm interested to see where this team stands on Jan. 1. I'm not sure that it's time to make a deal.


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