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Alex K. on Jul 1 at 14:47

I voted for Elton Brand just in case Stefanski is reading.

Smith may just be won over by the cheese steaks tomorrow.

I'm the lone Smith vote so far. To be honest, I wouldn't want to be in Stefanski's shoes and have to make this decision.

The thing I can't get past is age. If the Sixers go with Brand, they're moving up their timetable and basically saying, "We expect to win a title within 4 years, and then we're going to rebuild." Signing Smith would continue to build a young core -- with Smith, Thad, Dalembert, (Jason) Smith, and Speights all guaranteed to be here for a couple of years. And, of course, the Sixers could choose to extend Iguodala, Williams, and Carney if they wanted to.

In the end, I don't think either move is the one that puts the Sixers over the top, and that's why I lean (ever so slightly) towards Smith. And at 22, you have to think some good coaching combined with a bit more maturity could turn him into an even better player.

Just to play devil's advocate on the age thing. You could have Brand for 4 or 5 years and Baby-Brand learning everything he knows and ready to step in when he leaves in Speights.

That's a good point, and Max also makes a strong argument for Brand below. I think I'm seduced by Smith's defense, since that fits best with what I'd look for if I were putting a team together.

On a holistic level... what makes this such a tough decision is the spot the Sixers find themselves in right now. They're not good enough to compete for a title as they're currently constructed, but they've reached a crossroads with Iguodala, Williams, and Miller. They're in a no mans land of sorts, and my biggest fear is that they go for broke to win a title in the next three years when, quite frankly, their roster isn't constructed for that sort of thing right now. There's a fine line between trying to win now and between going for broke, but I do trust Stefanski to see that.

Good point. Speights is advertised as Elton Brand lite and learning from Elton himself will probably make him amazing in 4-5 years. This topic is so confusing! Every comment I read makes the decision that much harder.

I think you just swayed my decision. Regardless, I'm with Brian on it being way too close to call. Either one would be legit, but I agree that with Smith we are still an up and coming team, as opposed to Brand.

Out of the two, Brand is the guy to get - no question. The goal should be to excel in the playoffs and compete for a title. In terms of low post skills, he provides everything the sixers need in order to compete with the easts top teams in the playoffs. He'll do everything Sammy doesn't do. They should play off each other fairly well. The sixers would be much closer to having a complete team which could compete for a title with maybe a piece or two needed going forward (shooting, PG after Miller, etc...)

If you get Smith they will be fun to watch, for sure; just don't expect to win in the playoffs for a few years because they won't have any low post presence OR consistent shooting. Plus, unless iggy or thad become dominant face up scorers you'd have a team that would have tons of issues scoring in the half court. Smith isn't going to do it. It's not his game. I'm all for run and gun; just so long as you can score in the half court SOME of the time. Brand is the better fit for this team.

Max reply to Max on Jul 1 at 15:30

...I'm reading an interesting Chat from John Hollinger. Not the biggest fan of his but just thought I'd share some snippets on this very topic:

--Snippet 1
"Eric (Elkhart, IN):: With the sixers having about 11 million in cap space who do you see them having the best chance at landing this offseason either from FA or Trade?

John Hollinger: (3:10 PM ET ) They're making a big run at Atlanta's Josh Smith, hoping that the Hawks' ownership can't get their act together to match an offer within seven days. Not sure what Plan B is, or whether it involves Elton Brand at all."

--Snippet 2
"Pete (Philly): If by some miracle we do get Josh Smith, do you think he's a good fit for us (Sixers)

John Hollinger: (3:12 PM ET ) He'll run like crazy and he's still getting better, but he doesn't answer the need for a shooter. Philly still needs an upgrade at the 2. "

--Snippet 3
"Brett (Philly): I like Elton Brand more than Josh Smith for the Sixers. Sure, they need a better two guard, but doesn't a post scorer create more open shots than a limited slasher like Smith? Also, is Willie Green the worst starter in the league?

John Hollinger: (3:19 PM ET ) Willie Green isn't the worst starter, not if Corey Brewer doesn't improve, but that spot badly needs an upgrade. That's a place Ben Gordon would be mighty useful, actually. As for Brand vs. Smith, I think the key for Philly is that Smith seems more attainable to them -- general consensus is that Brand will stay in L.A. to make movies. "

I'm reading it as well. The link is up in the post. I can't believe how much time he's spent on the Sixers so far, it's an ESPN record.

Max reply to Brian on Jul 1 at 16:05

Yup, also a few more good sixers reading towards the end of the chat. The sixers are getting pub because they have money to spend and that's news right now in the NBA.

In this chat, Hollinger is sticking to a main theme as far as the sixers free agent possibilities...essentially forget Brand because he wants to stay in LA. Go after Smith because he is the more available player. I am not sure I 100% agree with that assessment. It's also interesting he thinks Speights is one of 3 steals in the draft.

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of Hollinger's so I find it hard to get excited when he says something positive about a Sixer. I'd also like to see Willie Green play one on one with Corey Brewer to decide once and for all who the worst starter in the NBA is.

He also mentioned the Clippers giving Baron Davis a boatload of money a couple of times, but wouldn't answer my questions about where that money would come from when they're probably only going to have less than $10M after renouncing Maggette. Unless Brand leaves, that is.

Max reply to Brian on Jul 1 at 16:50

All of these guys, Hollinger included, seem to be using incomplete math when it comes to Brand and Davis. It's basically fuzzy math to push a good story. LA Clips could become this year's Boston. I have one problem with this. Both of these guys didn't opt out to take less money. They are MAX players looking for a payday. Opting out was one more step in the bargaining process. Given this, it'll be hard to fit them both under the cap. Plus, I just don't see an L.A. Clipper coup in getting both of those players especially considering their owner is Donald Sterling - a notoriouly cheap and inept fool.

My take - if you can convince Brand of your commitment to winning, and throw tons of money/years his way he'll eventually cave no matter what. Unless his only goal in the NBA is to subsidize his movie interests, which I doubt. I believe he wants to win while getting paid; business as usual in the NBA.

Here's the simple question for me. If all Brand wanted was a huge payday, he could've played out this season at $16.44M, then qualified for an even bigger max deal from the Clippers after next seasons. There will also be more teams under the cap next Summer to bid on him. From the beginning, I thought he was paying lip service to the Clippers by saying he wanted to stay there, that hasn't really changed.

The only other possible reason for opting out to cash in from LA is if he doesn't think he will be the player he was before the injury, and he wants his extension and big money deal before the team sees him play for an extended period of time. I find that the least likely.

He wants out of LA, and I'm hoping Philly is where he lands. That's my take at this point.

Joe reply to Brian on Jul 1 at 17:13

I think there is a difference between 16 million guaranteed and 80+ million guaranteed. You never know what is going to happen, especially when you just had an injury scare. I think I wouldn't be interested in taking the risk if I were a professional athlete. This could also explain the intentions from Baron.

Max reply to Joe on Jul 1 at 18:46

Agreed with Joe, I think in Brand's mind, this year or next year would have been his last big payday. Would it have been worth it at this stage of his career to play another season for that contract? He knows SOMEONE out there will give him money given he successfully showcased his healed achilles at the end of the season. He's only had the one injury. Now, if he was a more inferior talent needing to prove himself, the risk might have been worth it. But he's a superior, polished talent. He might as well cash in on it now...

If I was Brand, I know I'm getting paid. That's a given. My other worry is to play for a winner. He wants an assurance the Clippers are going to make a commitment to field a winning team. He is probably having doubts about that. Someone will have to look it up but I think he's only played on one playoff team in his career. He's sick of losing. Here's hoping the sixers can satisfy both of his needs and convince him to sign.

Lets get one thing cleared up here. Brand does not have bad defense. I'd actually argue that he is better at guarding bigger guys than Smith is. The thing that seduces everyone it seems is his shot blocking ability. Brand has great defense just does not block shots at a nearly as high rate as Smith does. With Smith you get youth and in three years he will be at an all time high in terms of trade value. However with Brand we get instant credibility in the league and maybe the refs will finally start throwing some calls our way. Brand brings the whole package so you have to go for Brand but only if it fits the team and hes not worth targeting if it puts you over the cap and the ability not to sign Iggy and Lou.

Joe reply to Aaron on Jul 1 at 18:11

Brand is obviously the superior defender. Smith is incredibly inconsistent on the defensive side of the ball.

Iggy and Lou have cap holds Aaron. Getting Brand wouldn't affect our ability to sign those 2 most likely.

By no means was I putting Brand's defense down. He'd easily be the team's best answer to big PFs, and a better option there than Smith. My point with Smith was that with him on your team, you have three super-versatile defenders in Thad, Iguodala and Smith. They could switch everything, trap everything, pester every player on the opposing team, and really play amazing pressure defense which would stifle a lot of teams. Having that much athleticism on the floor at one time would be unprecedented as far as I'm concerned, and we really don't know what they could accomplish as a unit.

Add in Miller, an above-average defender at the point, in my opinion, as well as Sammy defending the hole, and they have a defense that would change games.

The Sixers with Brand would probably be a better traditional defense, matching up man-to-man. The Sixers with Smith would be like last year's defense on speed.

Some news out of clipper land. Empty Rhetoric?

So much for elton brand. Baron davis just signed with the clippers so it looks like he got the help he wanted. Eddie better be on his game tommorow when smith comes to town.

Well, I'm glad I got all of my Elton Brand content out there so quickly. That window sure slammed shut quickly.

Any chance they renounce Brand and re-sign Maggette? Ah, who am I kidding.

steve reply to Brian on Jul 1 at 21:00

what do you think the chances are that we actually sign smith? this is the hawks ownership that we're talking about and we could steal him away like they stole joe johnson from the suns.

haha. Just saw that.

He got 13 per in a verbal agreement. I suppose they will sign Brand and then promptly use the rest of their cap space to officially sign Baron.

Darn, well it was worth monitoring. I'm surprised but now I'm thinking Brand and Davis called each other before opting out to see the possibility of playing with each other. If it happens, they still won't make it out of the west with that team though.

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