Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
01/25/11 3:14 pm EST

With the NBA All-Star break around the corner and thus the NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching, we here at Philadunkia still stand as a blog divided on just what approach the 76ers should take for the remainder of 2010-11. 

Should the Sixers hold a fire sale and look ahead to 2011-12 and beyond? 

Should the Sixers be a “buyer” at the year’s trade deadline in effort to move up in the Eastern Conference standings and possibly entertain the idea of winning a 1st round playoff series?

Or should the 7-6 do nothing and see how this season plays out ?

After the jump, Philadunkia scribe Tom Sunnergren tackles this all important issue with his own unique twist.


Rod Thorn jolts awake from a deep sleep.  He sweats profusely.  It’s 4:30 pm.

Thorn:  There’s still time.

(He picks up the phone.  Sixers headquarters answers on the other end.)

Thorn:  We’ve got a major problem.  I need to put my best man on this.  Get me Johnson.

Headquarters: …Sir, you fired Johnson.

Thorn:  Then get me McCaferty.

Headquarters:  There is no such person.

Thorn:  (Pauses, looks portentously out window)

Headquarters:  Sir?

Thorn:  Get me Sunnergren.

Headquarters:  Sir?

Thorn:(Yelling into phone) I said get me Sunnergren!

Headquarters:  Yessir.

Thorn drops the phone into its receiver and pours himself a shot of rye.  His wife looks at him with not so much disapproval as deep concern.  Her eyes moisten.  Thorn gulps down his shot and pours himself another.

Mrs Thorn:  You promised it would be different this time.

(Thorn looks away, buries head in hands)

Thorn:  What have I done.  What the hell have I done.


The Next Day

Thorn and Ed Stefanski sit in his office.

Stefanski:  What’s all this about Rod?

Thorn:  We’re, as you know, fast approaching a fork in the road.  Nothing less than the very fate of this franchise hangs in the balance.

(Stefanski rolls eyes.)

Thorn:  Our expectation this season was that we would be so dreadful we would get another high lottery pick to build with, eventually add a top free agent when Brand comes off the books, and with that core launch a run.  We’ve played so well though, our veterans have responded so favorably to Doug Collins, that we’re in danger of playing our way into the playoffs, out of the lottery, and back into the very sporting purgatory we just emerged from.

Stefanski:  Oh, that.

Thorn:  There is still time to avoid this though –if that’s in fact what we need to do– but decisions need to be made and they need to be made immediately.  I’ve asked Tom Sunnergren to put together three scenarios for us, three courses that we can take.

Stefanski:  Who?

(Tom Sunnergren, sex hero turned blogger turned shrewd analyst, enters the room.  He carries three manila envelopes.)

Sunnergren:  Thank you for having me gentlemen.

(No time to waste, he spreads the three envelopes across Thorn’s desk.)

Sunnergren:  Three options. Three different roads to take.

Thorn:  (Takes a deep breath, speaks decisively.) We’ll take option number two.



Sunnergren:  Wouldn’t you…wouldn’t you like to know what they are first?

Thorn:  Very well, I’ll take option four.

Srefanski:  (To Sunnergren) Why don’t you just read them to us.

(Sunnergren opens the first envelope)

Sunnergren:  Option number one — Maintain the Status Quo.

The conventional thinking in the NBA is that the surest route to victory is to draft a pair of high lottery picks, develop them into stars, and surround them with selfless role playersand veterans. This is, like most conventional wisdom, at best a half-truth.  The “ground up” way of building a team is certainly one route to contention, but there are others.  One need look no further than the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, or Phoenix Suns — four of the most successful franchises in the NBA — four alternative ways to build.  Each of these teams was constructed, almost entirely, through free-agency and trades, not through losing to win.  The Celtics were the dregs of the League before they acquired Ray Allen and Garnett– albeit with using the five pick in the draft as bait — and while the Mavericks are buoyed in large part by Dirk Nowitzki, nearly his entire underrated supporting cast –including the still enormously effective Jason Kidd — was acquired through free-agency and trade.  Dirk himself was picked ninth, not exactly at the top of the draft.  Same story with Kobe, who many people forget was only the 13th pick, and the Lakers.  The Suns, in their glory years, were free-agent Steve Nash and, in Stoudemire and Marion, two ninth picks.

The Sixers, contrary to the views of many of the fans, can in fact continue to win and, with clever roster management, make the postseason without forfeiting long-term competitiveness.  As long as the young talent, which we suddenly seem to have, continues to grow, we will be fine going forward.

Not everybody wins like the Thunder have.  Theirs is a model, not the model.  Plus, the playoff revenue wouldn’t hurt.

(Stefanski looks to Rod Thorn and nods.  Thorn is asleep again.)

Sunnergren:  Option number two is sell.

Brand and Iguodala go on the block.  We unload them — hopefully without sacrificing too much of our young talent – – clear payroll and move forward free and clear of the millstone of bad decisions past.

(Thorn, now awake, glares at Stefanski)

Under this scenario, we either, (1.) miss the playoffs and get a lottery pick, then, once the new CBA is sorted out and the deals we acquire in return expire, go after a free agent with our newly deepened pockets or (2.) play well and make the playoffs despite the absence of our supposed cornerstones, then still add a free agent in the next season or two — again, depending on when the deals expire — to push over the top one of the best young teams in the NBA.

IF we jettison Brand and Iguodala, we are suddenly young, talented, and cheap.  To mangle an old expression, nobody younger than us will be better and nobody better than us will be younger.

Sunnergren:  Option number three is controversial, but has some appeal.  We buy.

Teams around the league are frantically trying to shed salary right now, extricate themselves from commitments sometimes irrespective of the value of the player.  What if we went in the other direction? With Jason Kapono’s expiring deal, Sam Dalemberts trade exception, and a stable of desirable young players, we could get better — maybe a lot better — right now.

The objective of the upgrade wouldn’t be to compete this season or even advance past the first round, but to position us for the next two or three years.  The Celtics are aging, the Knicks may be a fluke, and the Nets and Raptors aren’t even in the vicinity of contention.  A window will soon be thrust wide open — the Atlantic will be ours for the taking.  If there are transactions, upgrades, that are possible now that won’t be this off-season or next, then we have to consider making them.

What opportunities are out there?  Well, I’ve tried to stay in generalities here, but it’s been reported that the Bobcats are willing to move Gerald Wallace for salary relief.  It would be worth putting in a call to Jordan to see what we could do to pry free the south of 30, occasionally elite player, who would fit in with what we do and provide the extra muscle on the boards that we need.

Stefanski:  (To Sunnergren) What would you do?

Sunnergren:  My recommendation is option two.

Thorn:  (to Stefanski)  I agree, two is the obvious choice.  We should try to get better now, go for the jugular.

Stefanski:  I believe that was option three Rod.

Thorn:  You’re fired.


10 Responses to “WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE”

  1. Matt Hator
    25. January 2011 at 17:39

    Very amusing and well written article. I agree with you completely in your choice to trade Andre and Brand. This team as currently constructed will never win a first round playoff series, so we should ditch the large contracts and rebuild this thing. If we trade those two huge contracts were probably 2 years away, which is better then standing pat and getting swept in the first round by the Heat/Celtics.

  2. tim
    26. January 2011 at 08:39

    this is awesome haha

  3. J.R.
    26. January 2011 at 11:00

    Well written… appreciate it. Go #2… we can win except keep brand. we have shown we can win w/o iguadola and his opportunity time to prove himself is well expired!

  4. T.Y.
    26. January 2011 at 11:50

    Why not do what’s best LONG-TERM and sell,sell,sell!!!!….If the 7-6 wants to be competitive-for more than just this season but years to come-we have to look to the future.The future is building around the young core we have.SELL Brand ASAP.He is playing well which does increase the interest in him.Add him with Iggy and we could find ourselves with another star or elite calibur player to help build the Sixers brand for years to come. As stated by the poster,the division is soon to be up for grabs.Celtics are on their last legs,Raptors and Nets are years from being relevant in any way.That leaves the Knicks who are playing well but are just as unpredictable as we are.So why not do the smart thing and upgrade????

  5. Joe Wahler
    26. January 2011 at 12:31

    The sell option makes the most sense. It will be daunting to find a suitable landing for Brand. The most likely CBA agreement will be structured partly like the NHL where there will be a buy out clause of 75% of the salary due that will not count against the cap. If we shed payroll and let the young players get minutes, it gives Collins some much needed time to evaluate the team and the front office to clear up the books.
    I think they will do nothing at all and sit there……and frustrate us all!

  6. S.D.M.
    26. January 2011 at 12:31

    If they could trade Iggy/Brand for a solid inside 4 and a shooting wing to pair with Turner, then I’m up for it. Iggy’s a good, solid player – his defense is outstanding, but he can’t hold on to the ball when he drives a lane in crunch time – and unless his outside shooting improves significantly, he’s more valuable to some other team.

  7. WPSN
    26. January 2011 at 15:18

    Sell! Making the playoffs only keeps the Sixers trapped in NBA mediocrity. Even when given the number two overall selection, they still found a new way to set this team back. Sell…..sell…..

    Sell a few of the following….Turner, Iggy, Brand, Kapono (god luck), or yes even Holiday.

  8. Rob
    27. January 2011 at 11:20

    What do you think about trying to get Mayo or Henry and maybe one of the bigs (Haddadi or Thabeet or even Gasol but im sure Memphis wont part with him) from Memphis? If we can unload Brand and Iggy or even trade them to Memphis but that would most likely put Memphis over cap. Thoughts?

    Also are there any teams that could handle both Iggy and Brands price or will we need to pawn them off seperately?

  9. Toady
    27. January 2011 at 13:08

    Fire sale, no. Trade Brand, good luck. The same reason we hate the contract will prevent others from taking it on. I still think we try trading Iggy and Speights to Golden State for Dorrel Wright and Andres Biendrins. Wright= better scoring and outside shooting with minimal other let down. Biedrins= better rebounding and defense and in my oinion just needs a coach like Collins to get him back to his earlier form. Plus both are still young, but proven thus giving us the best of both worlds. Better now and later. Plus the better spacing with Wright should aide Brand inside thus making him a better player for us. Holiday looks to be keeper. Lou in a back-up scoring role is fine. Meeks and Turner continue to develop and maybe we draft or sign some-one here in the offseason. Thad and Hawes are the wild cards. If they develop great, keep them. If not, let them go and pick up some one better (Landry, Krstic?) Either way we are covered.

  10. brennan dipippo
    27. January 2011 at 14:18

    I’ve looked up some possible suitors for a possible AI9 EB trade. Seeing how the Knicks need all the help they can get trade AI9 for some lesser talent like a bill walker who can knock down the 3 ball and plays good defense, then trade EB to the pistons who are in need for a big man as of late for someone like ben gorden who will allow ET to grow in his now huge role as aour franchise player. This way, we get a shooter/scorer who will let ET run the show like we want him to.

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