Strangely enough, the 76ers were the third trending NBA topic on Google much of last week.  It was the biggest NBA week of the entire season and yet our team couldn’t stay out of the news. 

There were Iguodala trade rumors running wild, Jrue Holiday’s 21st birthday and probably most importantly was the ownership situation.  All of this news was happening before the offseason had even officially begun.

True Hoop’s own Henry Abbott broke the news that the sale of the 76ers is ‘imminent’.  Current owner Ed Snider, 78, of Comcast-Spectator has reportedly all but agreed to sell the franchise to Joshua Harris, 46.  Harris is the director of Apollo Global Management LLC. and is speculated to be worth upwards of 1.5 billion dollars. Nice little chunk of change.

If this ownership transfer goes down for the 76ers, I believe on the surface that is a positive thing for the city.  I’m all in favor of a young hands-on owner in the mold of Mark Cuban which hopefully Harris will become.  Plus it’s been abundantly known that Ed Snider is solely a hockey guy and that his acquisition of the Sixers in ‘96 was looked upon as a business decision.  Snider was a founding father of the Flyers in 1966.

So now that you understand the gist of things, how thrilled are you to be a 76er fan?  This could be the most important offseason since the summer of 1982, when Moses Malone was signed as a free agent away from the Houston Rockets.

To me, getting rid Iguodala will be the most important part of the summer of 2011.  Parting ways with AI9 signals the end to the post-Allen Iverson era, a time period where mediocrity for the Sixers was approved by much of the fan base.  From 2007-2011, the Sixers best record was 41-41 (happened twice) and overall the team finished 20 games below .500 in the four seasons.  There were three different coaches and two different GM’s, but still the same results.  Sometimes the “franchise” player has to take the blame.

Giving the boot to Iguodala is completely necessary now that his ego has been blasted all over sports talk radio and shows like PTI all last week.  His departure will either mean obtaining a surefire 20 point scorer (Monta Ellis) or a top 12 center with an expiring contract (Chris Kaman).  If the latter happens, then Jrue Holiday becomes the undeniable quarterback of this basketball team.  

Secondly on the list of important personnel decisions has to be what figure is acceptable to give Thaddeus Young?  Clearly most people in the organization want him back, but not at any cost.  Although he averaged less points than he did in 09-10, Thad’s burst to the bucket saved the Sixers on more than one occasion this season.  Some even regarded him as the best forward off the bench in the League.

Rod Thorn has to decide a set price though and make sure he doesn’t overpay Young for what he is worth.  We all know his defense is below average and he will rarely score outside of 10 feet.  Young made 2.9 million this past season and is due a qualified 3.9 million offer as a restricted free agent.  I think there’s no way the Sixers should pay him more than 8 million dollars a season.  The ultimate scenario for Young is that he becomes the big man version of a James Posey type-of role player on a contending team.  Posey makes just under 7 million dollars a year with the Pacers.

Lastly the development and progression of Evan Turner is going to be how we judge the 2011-2012 season.  If he excels offensively – and its hard to believe that Turner won’t – there is a very good chance the Sixers are playing in the second round of the playoffs.  ET averaged more points in the 2011 playoffs than he did in the regular season, earning Doug Collins confidence during clutch moments against the Miami Heat.  Without Iguodala, Turner will feel more comfortable playing small forward where he is in better position to rebound.  Plus he will assume the role of point forward in some situations and we saw him excel performing that role in the Boston Garden.

Changes are upon us in the summer of 2011 and it is imperative that the Sixers front office makes the right moves.

If mistakes are made during this offseason, the effects may not resonate immediately during the upcoming season, but they would have a significant impact in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and then we will all look  back at the 2011 offseason and wonder “What if…?”.

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