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Pressing Questions: Jan. 11, 2013

something to worry about, if/when bynum returns, is Collins able to run a half decent offense? though the defense should be better if/when that happens

he not gonna change but who cares if you turn it over going to the rim, every long 2 is a turnover to me, just drive and get fouled or at least driving the ball consistently should help with getting to the line

I just hope Bynum is actually capable of making contact w/ a defender when he sets a pick.

Have a feeling Collins is going to mess around w/ a bunch of high-low stuff with Hawes feeding Bynum in the post (until teams just double off Hawes and he decides to shoot the 20-footers). Hoping we'll still see a healthy dose of the P&R, with Bynum in it obviously. Also hope we'll just some bland sets. Bring the ball up on the left side of the floor with Bynum on the left block. let the weakside big screen Bynum's man, drag across the lane to the other block, dribble/pass from strong to weak, feed the post, have a cutter run through baseline, cycle to the opposite corner, the other perimeter guys space the floor, one in strong corner/wing, one top of the key beyond the three-point line.

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Court_visioN reply to Brian on Jan 11 at 11:13
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it'll make the game so much fun just to see opposing teams pay when they switch on big men.

Making his way to Earl Bowl in Quakertown for quiet morning rehab. But first 2 Denny's Grand Slams.

He's a big guy. They really need to make sure he doesn't eat w/ Turner.

They may be repasting together. Both look a little puffy for January.

I can see it clearly even right now. Teams double teaming Bynum and Hawes shooting wide open jumper after jumper (and making only 40% of them).

Will Collins be here next year?

espn rumor page mentions that the sixers could have interest in Eric Maynor from the Thunder.

would you want him and what would you give up?

i think anything's better than what we have right now as a backup PG. at least he has some upside being a former 1st round pick. i think he tore his ACL last year, though, and i've had enough with knee injuries already.

Yes. I'd want him. Take your pick, basically. Just leave me with Jrue and Thad, I guess.

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Matt reply to Scott on Jan 11 at 11:42
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I didn't realize it was his fourth season already. He really hasn't done much and now he's splitting minutes with Reggie Jackson.

I'd gladly take him, but the cost should be low.

Maynor was the probably the best backup PG in the league in his second season before he tore his ACL. I would love to have him.

Will they sniff .500 again? Pretty unlikely with this team (fairly unlikely this year even with significant player moves).

Playoffs? I hope not and I think "no" is a safe bet.

Bynum? If I had to guess, I would say that he returns in February, plays for two or three weeks, and then returns to the disabled list. I'm not counting on Bynum as this franchise's savior. That's my belief and, for the present, I'm sticking to it.

I think Collins remains for the season, but doesn't return next year. Despite this miserable season, I think he's actually done more good than harm during his 3 years here and there's something to be said for quitting while one is ahead especially if one is retirement age, has lots of money, and has a lucrative and less pressured alternative career.

Trade? Jeez, I sure hope so. At this point, I really don't care too much about who they give or who they get. My only preference is that they keep their future flexible so I would prefer getting players who have no more than one year (after this one) remaining on their contracts.

Short or longer-term focus? How do you turn around a team that is 5-16 in their last 21 games with the most recent loss being an 18 point stinker to a short-handed Toronto? Even if by some miracle they managed to slip into the 8th spot, could they even win a game? Usually I'm not a fan of tanking, but sometimes it seems like the only sensible alternative.

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Tray reply to buke on Jan 11 at 12:45
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Yeah, I would like us to trade Hawes to a foolish team that wants a big man, trade Nick Young to a foolish team that wants bench scoring, trade Turner to a team that wants whatever it imagines Turner provides, get as little back as possible unless someone's willing to give us something of value for Turner, play Wilkins, Ivey and Moultrie a lot, and tank. We have the 5th worst scoring differential in the league, so it shouldn't be too hard to lose a ton of games.

I think Wayns would be a much better path to tanking. Not really sure there's anyone worth tanking for this year, though.

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buke reply to Brian on Jan 11 at 14:44
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Well, no one can be sure about most things, but look at this way. Which of the statements below do you believe has the lowest probability of accurate prediction?

1) If the Sixers tank the remainder of the season, they will have a chance at a top three pick and will end up with a higher first round pick in any event. They will also have two high second rounders. There's a decent chance they can pick up at least one player of long-term value.

2) If Bynum returns soon enough and is fairly healthy the rest of the season, the Sixers can win enough games to get to a competitive playoff spot (say 5th or 6th). From there, anything can happen. Even if the team gets the 7th or 8th spot, they have a chance.

Second rounders are meaningless to me, honestly. High or low, doesn't matter. Anything beyond the lottery is a crapshoot, an early second is only better than a late first because there's no guaranteed contract attached.

Also think it's doubtful they can tank enough to have a good chance at a top three pick, so it's tanking for like a 5% chance of moving up in a shitty draft. Eh.

I'll take door #2, but obviously if the type of play we've seen over the past five games continues, I'll reevaluate.

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Tray reply to Brian on Jan 11 at 17:00
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Everyone always says the draft is weak the past 5 or however many years. And then it always turns out that there were some pretty good prospects after all. This year, leaving out the top few guys, Lillard (6), Drummond (9), Henson (14), Nicholson (19) and Sullinger (21) all look promising, and two appear to be potential All-Stars. The year before, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Vucevic, Faried, and Chandler Parsons were drafted outside the top ten. In 2010, you had Monroe, who we thought was soft and a future bust at the time, going seventh, George at 10, Patterson at 14, Sanders at 15, Bledsoe at 18, even Greivis Vazquez, currently averaging 9.1 apg, at 28. In 2009, no one would ever have thought Harden was worth tanking for, people thought Curry was taken too high at 7th, Jrue was available at 17, and so on.

Out of the entire list, the only potential all star drafted outside the top 10 was Jrue. And the only legit star you listed was Harden, who was drafted #2 (or was it #3?).

My point is that I don't really see the benefit in tanking for a guy who maybe tops out as a decent starter. String together four tank jobs in a row and you've got yourself a really young, mediocre team, yay. Although I don't think they own enough of their own picks for multiple tank jobs to help them.

I'm not necessarily opposed to losing a bunch of games this year to add a piece in the draft, a piece you can add around Bynum. If you're going to completely turn the franchise around w/ the #5 pick in the first round and a couple second rounders without Bynum, well, I just don't see it.

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buke reply to Tray on Jan 11 at 14:47
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Sounds not much worse than the present to me, although, if we are going to get new players, I'd like to see them play even if they aren't that good. I really can't say that I need to see a lot more of Ivey given that he has had two stints here.

1. Bynums get back on the 20th of February
2. They make a trade for a backup PG. It's a trade that will primarily help them short term, but they won't waste a good long term asset on it.
3. They make their moves thinking long term.
4. They will finish 41-41 and make the playoffs.

In terms of the offense, I think any big with a pulse (meaning someone who can finish if spoon-fed within 4 feet of the rim) and the team scores 8 more points a game. That is making zero changes to their current offensive schemes/players and level of play. Early in the season they produced those easy looks inside just to see Hawes and Lavoy fail to finish. Hawes is #37 out of 40 NBA centers at FG% "at the rim."

So that gets them to being a serviceable NBA offense, and then you get further improvement by allowing everyone else to now assume their appropriate roles as spot up shooters or distributors instead of asking everyone to be an iso wizard.

For some reason many people have decided that becasue the Sixers completely lack the talent needed to score in any way other than iso that somehoe Collins loves iso-ball. They have no inside game. They have no one capable of setting a pick. They have no one onside who requires the defense to help thus leaving shooters open. So the only road left is to have Jrue/ET/Thad break down their men individually. It is horrible/ugly/ineffective basketball- but it is what the Sixers as currently constructed have to do to score. That does not mean it defines what Collins or Jrue wants to do offensively.

It's worse than that, because Jrue is the only one who can both (a) create an advantage in isolation and (b) use that advantage to distribute. Thad can get by his man, but it's always to shoot. Turner can't get by his man, so even when he gets into the lane, it doesn't create an easy look for himself or anyone else.

The iso ball doesn't bother me nearly as much as those insipid possessions which run through Hawes 20 feet from the hoop with his back to the basket.

The terrible screen setting also submarines so many plays other than the pick-and-roll. Whenever they try to run anyone off a screen to get him open off the ball, there's just no separation at all. The defender hardly has to work.

It's just an ugly offense to watch unless Jrue is really, really on.

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mymanjrue reply to tk76 on Jan 11 at 18:32
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Good post, tk. I am guilty of the rush to blame that you describe. I really don't care for Doug Collins, his coaching or his persona, so I get some satisfaction out of ripping into him after yet another dispiriting loss. In more level headed moods, I remind myself of the deficiencies of the roster and of how incredibly frustrating it must be as a coach to have Bynum on the shelf, because he would, as you say, have an enormously positive effect on the offense.

Basically, you have hit the nail on the head once more(I expect nothing less from the wise man of the Sixers blogosphere) regarding the halfcourt offense.

The thing that I, even in my even handed, channeling tk mode can't excuse Collins for is the pace. They seem to actively avoid quick hits in transition in all but the most obvious opportunities. And half the time they have numbers on the break, it ends up being a bricked three by Richardson or Wright.

My point is this: the situation in the halfcourt offense, personnel wise, is as bad as you describe. Brian mentions the highpostin' Hawes shit show and the inability of anyone on the team to set a decent pick. It's just a morass.

Yet they play slower than almost anyone in the league!

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but teams generally force a slow pace when they want to press a perceived advantage in halfcourt set offense. Given the condition of the Sixers halfcourt set offense which you accurately describe, it makes absolutely no sense to me that the Sixers play at such a snail's pace. That is on the coach.

I have the feeling Jrue could dazzle in an uptempo style. As you say, it's wrong to blame Jrue for being so iso-0happy when it is basically the only credible threat that the offense possesses. I don't like for Jrue to get accustomed to playing that way, but for now the halfcourt offense IS Jrue iso. Sometimes he seems to get self conscious about his ball dominance and tries to pass on every play. Inevitably, this leads to either forced passes and frequent turnovers, or clean passes for open mid to long range jumpers. There just isn't much else they can make happen against a set defense.

So why not run?Why not play a little D'Antoni ball and strike before the d is able to get set?

First, let Jason Richardson know that he won't be starting for this team. Slide Evan over to the two and insert Dorell Wright at the three.

Tell everyone that the number one rule on offense is RUN. Jogging up he court will be a benchable offense.

Tell your bigs, Thad and Lavoy, that if they take a jumpshot off the break they will immediately sit. If the best look available in transition is a big's jumper, it's a bust of a runout and they should get in a set and see if Jrue can squeeze a bucket out. Better luck next time

Tell everyone that on a fastbreak, the only acceptable shot coming from outside the paint is a three. Tell Jrue never to fed cold shooters when he has numbers. Go to the three in transition only when the paint is well defended or a Nick Young or a DOrell Wright is on a deadeye roll.

Trade a few more turnovers a game for considerably fewer terrible long twos.

I really struggle to understand the appeal of playing at a snail's pace. The only advantage it gives you is in limiting turnovers. DC seens to have an obsessive compulsive relationship to ball control. It hurts the team, in my estimation.

Thad and Turner are your two most capable scorers outside of Jrue. Both have fundamental weaknesses that are exposed in the half court. Thad is undersized for his position and turns into a jump shooter with far too much frequency. Turner gets fkat out handcuffed by big, athletic defenders, can't beat his man into the lane or getto his sweet spots on a consistent basis, and turns into a perimeter jumpshooter when his game should be played between the basket and a couple feet on either side of the free throw line.

Attempting a fast break style unleashes Thad's athletic abilities, his quickness and agility. I envision him as Jrue number one target. Turner could, I believe, be coached up into a damn effective outlet passer, and thrive as a close trailer when Jrue leads the break, ready to get the pass, stop, and pop from eight feet, and ready to swoop in and clean up misses by Jrue or Thad.

As for the others, well, Hawes would be very useless in such an offense, as would Kwame. I believe Lavoy has the ability to attack the basket as a trailing big if his motor is running right. Arnett Moultrie should play at least fifteen minutes a night.

Dorell Wright can fill the lane and handle in a pinch, and is capable of getting a hot hand and turning deadly from three. Nick Young can sky.

Minimize half court possessions. Minimize long two point jumpers. Most importantly, maximize Jrue's progress. Rather than asking him to singlehandedly break down defenses, choose between attempting to dribble drive into a clogged paint or pass to a frontcourt player for an open jumper they'll probably miss, etc, you force him to sharpen his instincts. With luck, eventually he turns into Mo Cheeks on the break

What is the downside?ither than turnovers

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mymanjrue reply to mymanjrue on Jan 11 at 18:35
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then everyone is accustomed to an attacking style when bynum returns and you slow down a bit

Doug Moe is back with the Sixers?

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mymanjrue reply to sjs on Jan 11 at 18:58
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ahem, paul westhead

give me a sloppy and uptempo over hopeless and plodding any day of the week.

there just isn't any value in such a cautious approach when the roster is deeply flawed

I see what you are saying about the pace. And Collins said in the preseason that he wanted quick 3's and early offense. Unfortunately, they have not been able to carry this through.

But it is a tried and true coaching strategy when you have a bad offensive team to try and shorten the game by slowing the pace (this applies to football and several other sports.) The basic premise is that given the law of averages the more possessions the more likely the best team wins so you can steal more games by slowing things down and hope you get lucky :)

By slowing the pace you have less total possessions in the game, so you have a better chance beating a superior team. An analogy would be that after getting off to a good start in a race against a superior runner you have a better chance of holding them off in a short distance then a longer run because eventually they will catch you. The same reason why you see more upsets in a 3 game series than a 7 game series.

Then again, it is better to be a C level early offense style team than an F level halfcourt team.

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mymanjrue reply to tk76 on Jan 12 at 5:44
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I see what you are saying. I really don't think that is why Doug plays so slow though. Here is where each of Doug's teams in WSH, DET, and CHI ranked in terms of pace

Dead last
Dead last
23rd of 25 teams
28th of 29 teams
28th of 29 teams
27th of 29 teams
26th of 29 teams

I think it has to do with need to exert control over the game. Even I will admit that Doug did a very good job in the playoffs last year, showcasing his strengths in a lot of ways...but I went to all the home games, and from my vantage point in the upper deck it got very frustrating seeing the makings of an odd man runout over and over and have Doug on the sidelines motioning instead to slow down and walk it up

As I've said before, I think that with Doug, it's all about him. He still can't accept that his career was cut so cruelly short.

Whatever the reason, I can't take this hideous offense. I'm sticking with my PUSH THE BALL. Let's see how this team can perform playing that way. The concept you describe doesn't account for a situation where a team is markedly better suited to one style or another. Whether that's the case in this instance I obviously do not know, but again, I don't believe it could be much worse. In my opinion the slow pace aggravates a lot of the roster's weaknesses with Bynum on the shelf. Frontcourt play is particularly crucial in the halfcourt

It won't happen with Collins here though. He will never relinquish control. It's like he's playing a video game. this is why guys get so burned out playing for him

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mymanjrue on Jan 11 at 17:09
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i love watching old nba games on youtube. some real gems.

every time i watch vintage early eighties sixers games, mo cheeks blows me away. what a point guard.

anyway, i've had trouble putting my finger on just what makes him so good. i've settled on his elite decision-making.

anyone who was there, tell me about mo cheeks!

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mymanjrue reply to mymanjrue on Jan 11 at 17:13
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i don't think he ever made a bad decision on the break. even when the play breaks down, it's seldom because maurice made the wrong play. he plays the game with so much intelligence

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Charlie H reply to mymanjrue on Jan 13 at 12:28
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speed, intelligence, decisiveness

...so would the goal of this theoretical tanking be to get the next Jrue Holiday, the next Andrew Bynum or the next Evan Turner?

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Tray reply to das411 on Jan 11 at 18:57
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The goal would be to draft someone capable of starting for a playoff team at the 2, 3, or 5. Someone capable of being the third best player on a contender is probably the best case scenario, but I'd be fine with a solid fix to any of our many positional holes.

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mymanjrue reply to Tray on Jan 11 at 18:59
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I dream of Nerlins, personally. Love his potential

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SixersRising on Jan 11 at 22:40
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I think the Sixers win 5 of their next 7 and the turnaround begins tomorrow with Houston on a back to back. The team will be .500 again by the third week in February.

Bynum returns Feb 1 against Sacramento, the Sixers keep it quiet until January 30th.

In my mind there with where things stand now there is little point in trading, because who would want anything we have to trade? I'm convinced if they do trade it will be with the long term in mind and rightly so.

Personally, I think they showed they have a longer term view than I would necessarily view as ideal when they signed Hawes and Kwame to 2 year deals. IMO Collins will be around for another 5 years. One thing that has really surprised me is Collins has seemed to tether his temper more this year than last ... not saying he has mellowed - but maybe he realizes they may have overestimated some of the offseason pickups they made.

Turner needs to step up and play like he did a month ago, and I believe he will. Just hope it is sooner rather than later.

"In my mind there with where things stand now there is little point in trading, because who would want anything we have to trade?"

Yeah, exactly, which is why we can never reach .500. Show me a .500 team in recent memory with only two good players.

so remember that time the Phillies were horrendously awful until UtleyHowardHalladay came back and then once they got healthy they became average?

"In 1973, the Sixers held their June rookie camp, and reporters state Raymond Lewis was sensational.

In one full-court scrimmage, Lewis reportedly scored 60 points by halftime and coach Gene Shue called off the second half so that the number one draft choice and million dollar rookie Collins would not be further embarrassed by Lewis.

Soon the Headlines would read... COLLINS TALKS A GOOD GAME BUT RAYMOND LEWIS PLAYS IT blared one headline. LEWIS DESTROYS VAN LIER-TYPE was another. 'Raymond Lewis is a 20 point favorite over Collins,' wrote one reporter. 'Raymond Lewis might be the best draft choice Philadelphia has made since Billy Cunningham,' another writer said. After all the publicity, Shue refused to let Collins guard Lewis, and that's when Raymond decided he wanted to renegotiate his contract. When Philadelphia refused, Lewis reportedly walked out."

- raymondlewis.com (a good site in which to read about the late legendary player of Watts in Los Angeles, who played at Cal State L.A., who was unsuccessfully recruited by John Wooden and Jerry Tarkanian, who was the Sixers' 2nd 1st round pick (18) in '73, about whom Marques Johnson said, "without exception the best player ever to come out of LA.")

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mymanjrue reply to Dollar Bill on Jan 12 at 9:23
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now that is interesting.

such a strange brew, paul douglas collins

It seems that he's a great guy to family and coterie. Passionate, intense, proud and overhyped as a player and coach in my opinion.

Strengths as coach: alertness, oral communication, veteran wisdom, high expectations, defense prioritizing; "gearing ability." Weaknesses: pervasive tendency to overmanage, impatience/perturbability, petulant substituting, low-risk wavelength/insipid offense.

91-94, .492 - a resurgence?

That said, it's a players' league. Wouldn't ya know, Sixers need to go to the store again.

Great story. Sounds like it was tragic for him and us that he never played in the league.

Yeah, really sad tale - on both coasts.

SI Vault feature written by Barry McDermott - "A Legend Searching For His Past", 10/16/78 - is a good read. As is LA Times' Bill Plaschke's 2/14/01 coda, "Urban Legend."

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eddies' heady's on Jan 12 at 11:19
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how long will it take for the Sixers to shake off this bout of terrible play?

Now this is a tough one for me at the moment. I really don't have a straight-forward answer. Seeing that pussified-ness rear its' head at the end of the Toronto game (by standing around stiff like zombies allowing a last second alley oop AND Thad leaving the court BEFORE the final buzzer with Evan closely following), I'm not sure what realm these guys' psyche is in. Whatever that place is that they're suppose to store their mental toughness, it rings excruciatingly hollow at the moment. It was already near-empty before the season started, and not one of the players has watered their seeds it seems. Drought infested. It wouldn't be a stretch to say it could last until the All-Star break, but they'll likely snap out of it some time during this homestand when they finally realize no one has any sympathy for them tucking their tails between their legs so they might as well show a sack. That is, if most of them don't have to grow some sacks first.

Will this team sniff .500 again this year?

Heck no! Not even a chance. I told you it was over on a previous post several weeks back where you asked for a pick-me-upper positive spin.

Are the playoffs even a remote possibility?

The East is watered down, they still aren't gonna get in though, at least I hope they don't. Watching a 1st round pasting this year would be fruitless, most of these scrubs aren't parts of a contender and won't even be here in a year or two. Simple waste of time and most importantly a waste of a chance to get as high as possible in this lottery.

What's your date for Bynum's return?

This is a really tough one. As exciting and euphoric as it was back in August, it feels like I'm now living in an afterlife. I want to see him play but then I don't want to see him play. I want to see him play but then I don't want to see him play. And so on. He's taking so long to recover that at this point I really don't want to even see him take the court and mess up or decrease their chances to keep losing games. As of now, I'm of the belief that I don't want them to re-sign him and mortgage our future cap on a broken down creaky-degenerating-kneed big. I'd rather take my chances to add to Jrue (and maybe Thad) by getting pieces in the draft and/or second tier free agents. But to actually provide an answer to the question, he comes back around the first of March and plays a set of good games and then "tweaks" one of the knees and goes back out never to be seen again. It's based around whatever plan he and his agent concocted long ago. They mapped this path out before the season even started after he went for the Orthokine treatments. Ruland still haunts me, I don't want a Bynum ghost in my Sixers closet.

Will they make a trade?

I don't think they do, if they do it'll be something so insignificant like a backup player for a 2nd round pick this year. Something similar to the Jodie Meeks deal Stefanski shrewdly pulled off.

Do you think the franchise (and Collins especially) is able to look forward to next year, or are they only focused on turning things around in the short term?

They've already been looking to next year after the bowling-Bynum incident. The staff will go deep into the bag of tricks to halt this skid in the short term. I'm just worried about their forward thinking with regards to next year and re-signing Bynum for 100 mil. If he only gives you a 10% chance as you keep tossing around, that will end up being a colossal mistake. The frustrations each and every year of him sitting out and missing games with the hope that he isn't fragile come playoff time reminds me of a famous nursery rhyme. All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't put Humpty back together again. Bynum = Humpty Dumpty.

I never played much with my Humpty Dumpty doll as a kid, instead preferred my Mr. Potato Head. I could at least take chances dressing him up in different garb and step back and see how he ended up without worrying about 10,000 egg shells strewn all over the carpet that needed gluing and piecing back together. Mr. Potato Head = drafting and continue building.

Pretty much my sentiments stated more eloquently. Bynum being worth the kind of contract he has now after returning seems at best a 50%/50% proposition and the Sixers need more than a center anyway. A team like this shouldn't sink all of its dollars in one basket.

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Cholo reply to Cholo on Jan 12 at 11:45
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South Broad reply to Cholo on Jan 12 at 12:03
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"The best news, however, is each team would rid themselves of a player that has expressed interest in playing elsewhere, and that could help each team on and off the court."

And this player is which on the Sixers mentioned? Does this statement kill all credibility of what already is a rumor?

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Cholo reply to South Broad on Jan 12 at 12:06
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Kwame?
LOL

I can't find this rumor even referenced anywhere else, the money works. I have no idea why Phoenix would do it, they'd be getting nothing useful back and they'd be taking money on in the deal.

that deal would free up an awful lot of time for Moultrie though

How so? Gasol would take Hawes minutes and more, and Kwame never plays anyway.

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Cholo reply to Brian on Jan 12 at 12:56
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I agree. Just read it and post it here.
Hope it's true, though. worst case scenario, Gasol is a 19M expiring next year

Because it's not a rumor - it's just something this guy made up in a fever dream of 'fandom' but he found a site that would make it look like a legitimate rumor :)

Please be true (although i know it's not). Hawes, Kwame and J-Rich for Gasol even at this stage of his career is an unbelievable robbery.

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Cholo reply to Xsago on Jan 12 at 14:29
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Just for Gortat it still is


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