TWEAKING THE BIG TRADE

The recent trade that added Andrew Bynum to the Sixers didn’t have to include Andre Iguodala to Denver.  Furthermore, two guys who project to be good NBA starters, Nik Vucevic (Why didn’t ORL want Moultrie?) and Maurice Harkless (who from a previous article, I am quite high on) along with a 1st round pick were sent out along as well.  Unless you’re LAL or Miami, draft picks are vital and necessary pipeline to franchise success.  This trade should of been a thankful farewell to Thaddeus Young, a swift kick in the rear to Evan Turner.

First, the most positive aspect of the trade was it saved Doug Collins and/or Rod Thorn from trading Dre for Rudy Gay or Monta Ellis.  Gay is massively overpaid and Ellis is overpaid and has been average since his moped accident.  Secondly, it essentially removed Nick Young and Kwame Brown from many competitive minutes.  Those two facts, will be but shouldn’t be overlooked this season.  The truth is, keeping Young-Brown out of the lineup and not trading for Gay/Ellis makes this a good trade, unfortunately the 7-6 facilitated a trade where they came out a distant 3rd out of 4 teams.

 
 
 
To get Andre Iguodala, an All-Star, Olympian, 2nd best wing defender in the NBA and arguably a Hall of Fame player through his first 8 seasons, Denver gave up nothing.  Afflalo is an average 27 year old SG and Al Harrington is a 32 year old forward who hasn’t been good since 2003-2004.  Together they are owed a combined $14.5 million this year.  In a best case scenario, Afflalo and Harrington will produce 5 wins this season.  Seriously, Denver would have traded Afflalo and Harrington for absolutely nothing in return if they could have found a team to jettison them to.  Neither player is good on defense, Harrington is a 4 inch taller Nick Young and Afflalo’s production can be had for much less than the nearly $8 million a year he is paid.  Iguodala who makes an equal salary to those two guys is likely to produce 10 wins this season.
 
For those reasons I ask, why didn’t the Sixers trade Thad Young and Evan Turner instead of Dre.  
 
The short answer is because Denver has a much better GM than Philadelphia.  Masai Uriji has proven to be quite a good GM in his time with the Nuggets.  While he wouldn’t of thrown in Kenneth Faried to Philadelphia,  if the pressure was on, he’d of sent an expiring deal and taken Jason Richardson to acquire Iguodala.
 
Think of it like this, Denver got a phone call and was told Orlando wants Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington and a protected 1st round pick as part of a 4 team trade.  Masai Uriji, Denver’s GM,  being a smart guy didn’t just say, “Done, we will take literally anyone but Kobe, Jameer, Hedo, and Big Baby”, his actual response was, “We just signed these guys.  They’re valuable pieces, a draft pick too?  This better be a good deal for me”

He was told Andre Iguodala and he probably said something like, “hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm let me think on it and I’ll call you back” then proceeded to rip his shirt off like vintage Hulk Hogan and go running around the Denver front office like a crazy person yelling “Iguodalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I was just gifted Iguodalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa for Afflalo and Harrington, Iguodalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!”

Now picture Doug Collins and Rod Thorn sitting in their offices sweating and stressed out because Masai didn’t just snap accept the offer. Doug & Rod begin to consider offering Lavoy Allen to Denver to sweeten the pot but thankfully for 76er fans, Collins & Thorn wasn’t able to trade Lavoy Allen because of the CBA — Lavoy can’t be moved until December 15th.  Two hours later Masai has agreed and the deal gets completed. 

What should have happened from the beginning was Thad and ET were the offer to Denver, not Iguodala.  Denver still would have done the trade.  Masai, Denver’s GM, would of played hard ball and eventually would have taken those two + $3 million cash + a second round pick and the deal would have gotten done.  Thad and ET are better than Harrington+Afflalo, plus they are cheaper and younger.  Every indication is that Thad is a starting caliber SF and decent small ball PF.  Masai would have been happy to take a flyer on ET and if things don’t work out, Denver can let him go after the season if he disappoints for nothing.  Three million cash and the 2nd round pick make this an easy decision for Nuggets.  Denver certainly takes this to rid itself of Harrington and to a lesser extent, Afflalo.  

That trade would have been a huge win for the 76ers and put them in contention for an NBA title, this season and for years to come.

For instance, Chris “Birdman” Anderson is still on the market and could be had for the veterans min.  Birdman is worth at least $7 million a year.  His stat line the past 4 seasons looks something like this 18 minutes 5.8 points (fg% 56.5), 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, .6 steals, .7 turnovers.  It is not Birdman’s fault that George Karl refused to play him more, Karl wouldn’t even play Kenneth Faried major minutes season and Faried was a top 5 per minute player last year.  Other quality veteran pickups like Tracy McGrady, Kenyon Martin and Josh Childress are still on the market and could likely be had for the veteran minimum to fill out the roster
 
It would have been a huge win for the 76ers and put them in contention for an NBA title, this season.
 
Instead of the team looking like this below…
  
Holiday, Wright, Dre, Allen and Bynum as the starting five.

With Hawes, Birdman, Nick Young, Kwame, Arnett Moultrie, Royal Ivey, Maalik Wayns as the bench players.

…and being a favorite to end up as the 2nd seed in the conference, Philly got something totally different.

Dre could/would play Point Forward when Holiday takes a breather.  Hawes, Lavoy and Birdman would play all the available PF-C minutes (65) as compliments to Andrew Bynum.  Dorell Wright has shown he can be counted on in playing 30+ minutes a night of quality basketball.  Nick Young would be limited to 25 minutes a night of strictly shooting right corner 3’s where he shoots amazing 57%, Young also hits left corner threes above 50%.  Kwame would playing a ton of scrub time because Philly would be blowing out teams on a consistent basis.
 
That isn’t what happened.  Collins & Thorn were so happy to get Bynum, they didn’t look at Denver and realize they’re giving away nothing and getting back a super elite Andre Iguodala.  Reason being, Collins and Thorn were the same guys who wanted to trade Dre for Gay or Ellis.  Much like the average, casual fan Collins and Thorn don’t think that Iguodala is awesome.  Here is what Thorn & Collins thought to themselves, “Wowzerrsssssss, Iwe’re getting a great deal here.  All I need to do is give up Iguodala….. and Vucevic + Harkless and a 1st round pick for Andrew Bynum, a potential 1yr rental, and and Jason Richardson a 31 year old, on the decline who is owed $18 mil the next 3 years — where do I sign?”

The Sixers get a serious upgrade at center and a serious downgrade at SF, the loss of 3 prospects and a player who is in direct conflict with the front offices proclamation of “Youth Movement” who takes up valuable cap space.  The difference between Bynum and Iguodala is that one is an elite creator and guy who improves the players around him, like Lebron James, while the other is not.  Bynum is quite unlikely to be able to raise the play of his teammates similarly to Iguodala.  How many more wins can you expect to get from Andrew Bynum compared to Iguodala?  The answer is none.  This wasn’t a franchise changing trade the way it’s being portrayed in the local media and in the minds of fans.  It was a Hail Mary thrown out of desperation with time and downs still on the clock.

In the end though, at least Philly didn’t end up with Rudy Gay or Monta Ellis.


 

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