The 76ers held a press conference yesterday to tell us something we were already 90% for certain was going to happen…Tony DiLeo will NOT be the head coach of the Sixers in 2009-10. Tony did not get fired, nor did he reisgn instead he “withdrew his name form consideration” and will return to his job as the team’s senior vice president and assistant general manager. It’s the first time we have ever heard that line. When in the history of sports did a current coach ever have to withdraw his name from consideration for a position that he currently holds? We have to say it was a sly little move by Ed Stefanski and the higher ups down at Comcast.
Okay one problem is now solved, DiLeo is out. It had to happen after the Game 6 debacle and the ensuing ugly finger pointing and bickering. A s a bonus, he was shown the door in a manner that confused everyone but disgraced no one. It was a pleasant way to have DiLeo, who really took one for the team this year, exit stage left. But after all of the smoke screen had cleared yesterday, we here at Philadunkia were left asking one big question “So now what?!”
Either Ed Stefanski has the best poker face we have ever seen or he is totally out to lunch, because he did not seem the least bit worried about the direction of this franchise. Obviously we’re hoping it’s the first option. Look we know that the 2009 NBA Draft is roughly seven weeks away and that free agency does not start until July, but have you seen the mess down at the Wachovia Center that needs to be cleaned up this summer? It’s daunting.
The Sixers have no head coach, no staff and no system in place. Out on the court they have no starting point guard, no starting two-guard (Sorry Willie Green), two “star” players who play the same forward position and a thin bench (Marshall, Ratliff and Rush can all walk. Ivey has a non-guaranteed deal next year.). Plus they have to reincorporate Elton Brand into the lineup. Additionally the Sixers also have some drama ahead in the form of an an unhappy Sammy Dalembert and also figuring out a way for Iguodala to patch things up with the team mates he threw under the bus after the Magic kicked the Sixers out of the NBA Playoffs.
One could argue this will be one of the biggest off seasons in the franchise’s recent history and if Ed gets it wrong, we’ll be doomed for years. Yet there he sat yesterday as calm and cool as could be while he discussed how he will go about conducting the coaching search for DiLeo’s replacement. He was careful and calculated and gave no hint of what direction the franchise is headed in nor did he indicate that he realizes the magnitude of the off season that lies in front of us. To be honest, Ed was rather Andy Reid-ish in his approach to yesterday’s media gathering.
So it’s not a very fun time to be a Sixers fan. Actually we feel totally helpless, because really all we can do is sit back, relax and just keep reminding ourselves is, “In Ed We Trust.”