Thank you Ed Snider. Thank you for sparing Philadelphia from one more day of Billy King‘s run; for freeing us from what was arguably the most inept, ridiculous decade in the 76ers’ long, (mostly) proud history.
I have detailed in this space multiple times the absurdity of what Billy King has done to my beloved franchise; his greatest hits are laugh-out-loud funny and there way too many to mention, so I’ll just give you some highlights. There were countless, ludicrous signings (i.e.- Willie Green for five years, $17 million, after he blew out his knee and showed nothing to make anyone think he can still play … which, on most nights, the answer is pretty clear to the contrary), getting fleeced something awful by Geoff Petrie into taking a hobbled, disgruntled Chris Webber from the Kings and then turning around and giving Webber tens of millions later on just to make him go away. And of course, there is the crown jewel of King’s tenure: failing to ever give Allen Iverson any help, letting him waste his prime years and then trading Iverson away for 25 cents on the dollar. Does A.I. for Jason Smith and a year of Andre Miller sound like a great deal to you?
But there is reason for hope this morning. Mercifully, King is not going to be allowed to put us through his “three-stage,” multi-year plan to rebuild the Sixers. The first step was to deal Iverson. The second was to begin the rebuilding of the team through this year’s draft. Oh, how did that go, you ask? Our lottery pick, Thad Young, hardly sees time on one of the two or three worst teams in the NBA. Jason Smith has been OK. Herbert Hill hurt himself before he could show anyone anything and Derrick Byars never made it out of training camp (That was our haul on a night when the Celtics landed Ray Allen by basically trading picks). And the third stage was supposed to be heading into this offseason with enough cap space to land a prominent free agent. Thankfully, King won’t be around to pull the trigger on a Kenny Thomas-like $70 million deal for Walter Hermann or Flip Murray. And he won’t be around to be bullied into giving Andre Iguodala a max extension.
So where do we go now? New GM Ed Stefanski has to clean house and really start from scratch. Trade Andre Miller. Andre’s a good guy and a talented player, but he’s on the other side of 30 and makes almost $10 million a year. Nevertheless, he is undoubtedly desirable to a playoff-caliber team. This will most likely be the first real test for Stefanski. Push for that Miller/Jason Williams rumored deal that was floating around last week. If you really think Lou Williams can play, move Miller and let him play. And let Thad play while you’re at it. What’s the worst that can happen? We lose a ton of games and end up with Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose in the draft? Yes please.
Ed should also clean house in the front office. Don’t let any remnants of the King regime remain. This includes severing all ties with Larry Brown. I cannot stress this enough. The fact that King allowed Brown to pull strings and put him on the payroll for “advice” on personnel moves even after he handcuffed the franchise with his own awful signings and then jumped ship for the greener pastures of Detroit once he realized it was a lost cause in Philly is unforgivable. The fact that Brown is still lurking in Philly’s backyard makes me uneasy at best.
I am happy that we have a Philly guy making decisions now (Stefanski basically hails from my family’s neighborhood and has strong Big 5 roots) with a solid track record with the Nets as GM (he brought Vince to NJ for next to nothing). I know that the road back for the Sixers will be a long one, but it has to be started somewhere.
Let it start today.