Sitting in the middle of the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft, the Sixers have one of the best shots at moving around come Thursday night. Dangling Andre Iguodala as trade bait and the extraneous but valuable-to-some Louis Williams and Marreese Speights, pieces could be had to bolster or take away from the 41-41 roster that coach Doug Collins has already put together in one season. With both feet firmly planted in mediocrity, in which direction will the Sixers choose to go?
While many other opportunities can come up, there are essentially three choices that seem possible for the Sixers draft night. They're patiently waiting for you after the jump.
1. Keep Andre Iguodala, Draft Big
Though reports have surfaced since the beginning of time that Andre would be moved around draft time, we're no closer to a deal today than we were three years ago. People still undervalue him and if Rod Thorn and Ed Stefanski are serious about getting some amount of tangible value back in return, the overwhelming probability is that they won't make a trade. His contract scares too many people off despite the opinion of the rulers of this site that he deserves every penny. Sitting on him for another year won't hurt too badly because Evan Turner will take some more of his minutes before assuming the lead role in the offense and Dre is a gamer so he won't be pulling a Manny or anything similar.
They'd stay put at #16 and have their choice at a slew of gentleman above 6'8 to improve the front court which has been more than a little light in the cakes for years. Those strapping men include Tristan Thompson, Markieff Morris, Nikola Vucevic, Kenneth Faried, Tobias Harris, and the Lithuanian-born Donatas Motiejunas. It comes down to preference and availability among those six, but you can't really go wrong (or right) with a mid-first in a depth-heavy draft like this one. This is the safe bet for a front office known to sit on their hands during big decision time.
2. Trade Andre Iguodala for Cap Room, Draft Replacement
The most popular option has been dealing Andre to the talent-laden Clippers for the previously-good center Chris Kaman's expiring contract and the 7-foot body that would have to come with it. If the LAC-owned Timberwolves 2012 first round pick comes along with Kaman, that's one thing, but if it's just for Kaman and his dwindling ability, that's not good enough. The cap room is nice, but if the front office won't be using it to sign anyone meaningful (read: Dwight Howard) and instead someone to take up space (read: Hakim Warrick/Drew Gooden/similar players), then what's the point of having it?
Another rumor has been sliding Andre to the Cavaliers for their player exception and possibly the #4 overall pick. For the Cavs to add Kyrie Irving and a player like Iguodala to their team in one offseason would be a huge boost to a floundering franchise. But for the Sixers, it's much more enticing than the Clippers deal. I'll let tk76 say the rest:
With Kaman you maybe win a few extra games for 1 season like when Joe Smith came with the Iverson trade. Then you either re-sign him at age 30 (mistake) or he just walks and you are still left with a giant hole at center - except you just kicked the can one more year down the road. Either way, what does that accomplish?
The Sixers love to get 40 wins so that they can claim they are building something. But they often do it with vets that have a foot out the door (Andre Miller and now Brand.) Kaman would just be another example of pushing off the inevitable really big move needed to build a contender. They need to either trade everyone for a superstar and build from there (like what NJ did) or get rid of all of the vets and go young for a few years in the lottery. But the half way junk whee they bring in more short term vets has to stop.
Perfectly put. This would make the general public irate, but those are the same people that think the Transformers franchise good for the world. So....that's that.
3. Trade Andre Iguodala for Relatively Equal Value, Draft Big
As I said, equal value is not going to happen. Monta Ellis does not fit that description. Neither do Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson. But the media and fans like flashy names and I just named three of them. We've already gone over this in great detail the past few weeks, so I'll just rehash what Jordan said here.
These similarities between two equal-age players make the Andre Iguodala for Monta Ellis trade rumor look idiotic from the Sixers perspective, because they already have a Monta Ellis clone as their sixth man, with half his salary. I understand the potential trade would save the Sixers 11 million over the next three seasons, but Ellis' contract ends a year after Elton Brand's, so it still prevents the from being major free agency players in 2013 (read here).
The same bigs apply here, but they'd be more prone to go with a low-upside, high-floor player like Markieff or Faried than a project like Motiejunas or Thompson. Either way, this is my least favorite option.
If I had to guess, I'd put the odds of trading Iguodala on or before draft night at 50/50. The Sixers clearly haven't found anything they're in love with, otherwise he'd be gone already. But his being here next season (or not) impacts every decision this team makes so it's hard to imagine they'd go into the draft just assuming he will or won't be in town. They have to have a plan and be ready to execute it regardless of what precedes their pick Thursday night.
While trading Andre for lesser value will disgruntle the fanbase even more, it might be the best move for the franchise now and, more importantly, in the future. It all comes down to Iguodala and what Thorn/Stefanski want to get for him. It's all dominos from there.