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The Sixers and a question of patience on the path to greatness

Dec 18, 2011, 7:53 PM EDT

Philadelphia 76ers v Miami Heat - Game Five Getty Images

Star power is an abject must in this league, from any angle. It’s not just about the fact that this is a player-driven league or that “good players are good.” It’s that they drive ticket sales and those players are essential to winning a title. Detroit is the only real team in the last… long, long time span that did not feature a verified “star” player to win a title.

Philadelphia, on the other hand, continues to plug along without a real star. Andre Iguodala is kind of a star. He’s arguably the best complimentary player in the league, a superb passer, defender, and rebounder without being able to really create enough offense for himself. Thaddeus Young is a stellar combo forward who is still, pardon, young. Jrue Holiday is an excellent young point guard. Elton Brand was a star five years ago.

So why do they keep waiting? Why are they holding out on trades for Iguodala and standing pat in free agency? Are they just delusional in thinking this team can contend?

Turns out, not so much. Doug Collins actually has a really great take on this.

It’s not because he wants to tear up his roster by trading young players like Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner or Young to get a star. He just wants to be able to.

“When you’re playing for a championship, it seems like those deals come easier for you,” Collins said.

Collins said it’s paramount to make Philadelphia one of those destination places for stars. The only way to do that is to show that the Sixers are on their way to becoming championship material.

via Sixers hoping to make team a destination for superstars | The News Journal |

I’ve been critical of the Sixers for not making more moves to shake up the first-round-and-out squad they’ve constructed, but this is actually an excellent paradigm. In order to pull in free agents, they have to be a place players want to play. Philadelphia isn’t San Antonio or Minnesota, but it’s not New York or Los Angeles. If the Sixers can make a run to turn some heads and then translate that into either a trade package or a chance to bring in a difference maker, they can take a step up in the East.

It’s a patient, long-term plan to build a cohesive, effective, talented team. You know, the exact opposite approach of New York and Miami.

Maybe it’s folly and it will never happen, but it’s certainly worth the effort. Iguodala will still be tradeable at the deadline or next year, Holiday will only be better, Young, the same. The Sixers aren’t going to sacrifice their long-term maneuverability in a desperate attempt to get stars to love them. If they did, they’d be the Nets.

It’s true you have to swing when the pitch comes your way. But Collins and the team in Philadelphia are convinced you have to make sure it’s the right pitch.


  1. sonofsambowie - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    This team can take a giant leap forward if they land a star, especially two years from now when they shed Brand’s contract. I thought the Ellis-for-Iguodala rumor made sense for them.

  2. LPad - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    Actually this sounds exactly what the Knicks did. What Philly is doing is exactly how they got Amare, they developed (Gallo, W. Chandler), got a proven coach, and a proven GM which demonstrated they were headed in the right direction. Yes, Melo fell in their lap, but even then they had to develop assets to acquire them.

  3. rajbais - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Iggy should’ve been dumped via the amnesty clause!!!!

    None of the so-called trades involving him were ever going to happen!!!

    • fatcatt - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:28 AM

      “rajbais” why dont u go comment somewhere else where u have a clue of what your talking about..You obviously have no clue about the Sixers. Alot of “so called” trades never happen. How many so called trades involving CP3 happened? Only 1 out of how many rumors. Happens all the time with various players. Doesnt mean they werent close, or talked about many times. Go somewhere else and be negative and worthless

      • rajbais - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:16 PM


        Shut your mouth!!!

        You know even less because you actually respect an overrated AND overpaid player!!!!

        Btw, you’re a Philly guy that cares about the NBA??? I thought you have one of the worst attendance rates!!!!

        Just because I sound negative, it doesn’t mean I am clueless!!! It means I am truthful and know who to spend money on!!!!!

      • rajbais - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:24 PM

        “Oh look everyone!!! I’m ‘fatcatt’ I heard something truthful, but negative about an overpaid player!!!! I’m going to cry to Mommy!!!! Wah!!! Wah!! Wah!!!”

        My God!!! It feels positive AND extremely exciting to emulate WIP Radio’s Angelo Cataldi!!!

      • rajbais - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:26 PM

        “Oh look everyone!!! I’m ‘fatcatt’ I heard something truthful, but negative about an overpaid player!!!! I’m going to cry to Mommy!!!! Wah!!! Wah!! Wah!!!”

        Wow!!! It feels positive AND extremely exciting to emulate WIP Radio’s Angelo Cataldi!!!

  4. aosplayo - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    This team is average. The owners know this and lowered prices to reflect it. The Ellis trade does make sense. They are just stuck in NBA purgatory and will go .500, exiting the first round again…..all the while waiting for something to fall into their laps. It’s a joke.

  5. somekat - Dec 18, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    Ellis for Iggy would of been a horrible trade for the sixers end. Ellis does nothing for the sixers, and does not fix their logjam at 2/3.

    Iggy getting amnesty is idiotic. He’s overpaid, but not absurdly so. He still has trade value, no reason to amnesty him. I’ve never heard people wouldn’t take Iggy, I’ve heard they wouldn’t take him for the price the sixers want.

    Trade Iggy for a 1st round pick, an expiring, and maybe a young player (depending on who the first is from). Use amnesty on Brand. Let Turner, Holiday, Young, Hawes, Vucivec, Speights, Williams and whoever they get back for Iggy get playing time. Take your lumps this year. Go into next year with a young team with more experience, 2 first round picks in a very deep draft, and 33 million (roughly) in cap space.

    That would make them pretty darn attractive

    • jmclarkent - Dec 18, 2011 at 9:33 PM

      Agreed. You need to (intelligently) remove Iggy and Brand for this team to grow. At this stage they are only going to take development minutes away from Thad Young, Mo Speights and Evan Turner.

    • sasquash20 - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:22 PM

      Iggy is absurdly paid. But I wouldn’t use the amnesty on him either. He does still have trade value, but your chances of getting an expiring deal, a 1st and a young player worth anything for him are very slim. If he wasn’t so over paid he would have been moved already. I wish they would move him, his basketball IQ is about what his scoring average is. Plus we have T.Young and E.Turner who both fit the 3 better then anywhere else. I don’t see T.Young as a starting 4, and E.Turner needs to develop a shot before I put him at the 2. (I would have taken Cousins and hoped he matured, his potential is way more then Turners). The 76ers shouldn’t rush into anything with amnesty. Wait until a big time allstar is available via free agency. I would love a 2,4, or a true center. To do it now would only land you another questionable player and your still paying Brand even if it doesn’t play on the team. Brand if he stays healthy is still a solid player. There is no rush, the 76ers aren’t winning a title this season. Be smart 76ers, bad contracts have killed this team the last decade.

      • somekat - Dec 19, 2011 at 5:26 PM

        if knowing the sixers history with young bigs, you would of still wanted Favors, i’m not even sure what to tell you. He’s a headcase. If he isn’t giving the effort in a 30 game college season, why would he give it in a 82 game pro season with much more travel involved?

        The kid may prove me wrong, and turn in to a beast. But IMO, he, more than anyone else in last years draft, has bust written all over him. Another example of an 18-19 year old kid with a world of talent, and not a thimble of sense

  6. bleed4philly - Dec 18, 2011 at 11:01 PM

    I wouldn’t do anything yet either, see how it plays out. All the guys are back and chemistry is priceless when there’s no preseason. Evan Turner needs to step up and show us he was worth being a #2 pick.

    • fatcatt - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:33 AM

      Agreed. And they are going to be an even better defensive team than they were last yr with a yr of it under them. They will be a tough game for any team. They may lose to the best but they’ll know they were there. Iggy is healthy and will be better. this team is moving foward. just need a Center and more help at PF if Speights doesnt step it up. there doing it right

    • Chris Fiorentino - Dec 19, 2011 at 8:51 AM

      I hate to think this, but I saw nothing last year to make me think Evan Turner is going to be anything more than tissue paper. He’s so soft on both ends of the floor and it’s a shame because he seems to have some serious talent if he could just grow some balls. Maybe he’ll get more confidence but he reminds me way too much of Todd Pinkston and I’m wondering whether they are going to start playing the Mr. Softee tune whenever his name comes up. Here’s hoping I am wrong.

      • sasquash20 - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:27 PM

        He didn’t play enough to make that kind of claim. The real problem is he isn’t a SG. He is a SF. His shot isn’t good enough to be a 2. I’m not about to right him off or compare him to Stinkson. Was it the wrong pick? Probably, but he should be a solid NBA player for the next 7-10 years.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:42 PM

        Oh, I don’t think it was the wrong pick at all. He was pretty much the consensus #2 pick. Just sucks that the draft was so freaking weak that he was all they had left to take at #2. But I am with you…I hope he gets better. The #2 pick should not be considered solid…should be an all-star.

  7. robertjamis - Dec 19, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    I thought the funniest thing about this was someone citing the Knicks as an example. The Melo trade was probably the worst move the Knicks could have made. They lost all their Chris Paul chips, to acquire a player that A) they were going to get anyway and B) arguably fits the system they ran. They now have zero flexibility, minimal depth and their credibility as anything more than a perennial first round exit squad rests entirely on Tyson Chandler staying healthy for an entire season.

    The Sixers have some things. It’s possible that Holiday/Iggy/Turner can be very good defensively as a group, and a possibility that the first two guys can become better players. They’re both very young. I don’t really see any sense in blowing it up just yet.

    • somekat - Dec 19, 2011 at 2:40 PM

      yeah, Iggy isn’t going to get better. If his game evolved and got better, nobody would have a problem with him. His problem is, he’s the same player he was 4 years ago

      The first and 3rd will absoloutley get better though

  8. kareemking - Dec 19, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    Doug Collins stated that the issue with the amnesty is the salary doesnt count against the cap but the organization still would pay him the remainder of the salary. So your talking about getting rid of 14 mill and still pay a another top player 13 -14 mil for a non championship contender. The team will let the team develop during the yr to make a move

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