It sure was fun hating Samuel Dalembert over the eight years he spent in Philadelphia. Which of his tried and true tendencies did you most look forward to loathing? Personally I couldn't wait for the opportunity to mock Slammin' Sammy after he padded his already insurmountable NBA lead in goaltending violations, but if the preferred object of your vitriol was the "uncontested 17-foot fadeaway", or the "commit obvious foul and then react with an incredulous stare of disbelief", or even the ol' "mistime the opening tip so badly that by the time I land I can no longer reach the ball", I sure won't blame you. Point is, we all hated him at times, some constantly, some only most of the time, and the truth is bad teams need a target at which to hurl abuse, and when it came to abuse hurling, his 6'11 frame was hard to miss. It is this history of hatred, in my opinion, that has allowed us Sixers fans to generally overlook the nearly incomprehinsible idiocy that was this summer's Dalembert Deal.
We keep hearing how impressed we should be by the Sixers' defensive stats this year: look how well they're defending, and that's without anyone who can protect the rim! Ok, but you know what would be better than that? If they had someone who could protect the rim! Say what you will about Dalembert's offensive capablities, and say what I have about his propensity for goaltending; Dalembert is, was, and always will be (always!) a good help defender, and a solid defensive presence in the lane, something the Sixers could desperately use right now (Elton Brand is about to become the first player since Zydrunas Ilgauskus in 2004-05 to lead his team in blocks without ever jumping once all season). And while his offensive inconsistencies over the course of his career were certainly frustrating, he seemed to get it for much of last year (the "it" in question being: don't shoot, only dunk), as evidenced by his 8 ppg and 55 FG %. Combine those numbers with 9.6 boards and 1.8 blocks in only 26 minutes a game, and any level-headed person can admit that we're looking at a productive statline that would surely help the current 76ers.
Let's compare that to what we got in exchange for the big man. The casual observer can be excused for thinking that Spencer Hawes is in the last year of a long career, going through the motions and trying to milk a last few millions out of his aging body. Of course, as I've had to double check oh so many times this year, Mr. Hawes is only 22 years old. That's right, 22. I don't know either. Maybe he's suffering through an usually late case of Osgood Slaughter Disease. That's my best guess. But his nightly 6.5 pts, 5 rbs, and 0.8 blocks are worth about as much to our cause as the sum of the two numbers on his jersey (or the product, or the quotient, or the dividend, etc), and he's not exactly what you might call "even mildly interesting in any way" (this summer Ron Artest was the guest editor for an issue of ESPN the Magazine, and in said issue he asked for an article to be written on ex-teammate Spence. I'm pretty sure this was a practical joke on Ron-Ron's part to see if he could get away with requesting and then publishing an article on such a boring person. And he did. And it was very boring). Then there's Andres Nocioni, a decent energy player who serves absolutely no purpose for the swingman-heavy Sixers (who need to devote as many minutes as possible to the youngsters), and as such has seemingly been cut out of the rotation, which is the right and frankly overdue decision.
Then there's this: ever notice how almost all of the trade rumors you stumble upon this time of year include at least one player who is attractive to the opposing team solely because of his expiring contract? Well, Sammy's got one of those. That would've been a nice trading chip to have right about now, when we
are should be doing absolutely everything in our power to turn Andre Iguodala into something more condusive to the youth movement. Say we aren't able to include Dalembert in a deadline deal? The cap relief come this off-season would be more than welcome.
So, to recap:
We Gave: a very good defensive center with decent, if unobtrosive, offensive capabilities and an expiring contract.
We Got: a below-average center, both offensively and defensively, and a G/F who ideally will not play much if at all for the rest of the season (and, oh yeah, is set to make $6.6 million in 2011-12).
So unless you're betting on the longterm potential of Spencer Hawes (and if you are, for your own good, please click here), this trade made us worse in the interim and will cost us cap space in the future. Yes, Slammin' Sammy was fun to hate, and he didn't always have the best attitude, and he did look a fair amount like a portugese waterdog. But that's no reason to ignore the utter idiocy that was the trade that sent him out of time. Shame on you, Ed Stefanski, to manipulate your fanbase by hiding your ineptness behind the long, lean frame of a hated player. And furthermore, shame on you for being so goddamn inept in the first place.