It's only been two days since the Sixers were eliminated from the Playoffs, but we've already discussed an Andre Iguodala trade and a potential free agent signing. Before we go any further, there's something that needs to be addressed.
As many of you know, I am a huge advocate of re-building, and have been since 2007. Most of the readers and writers on this site feel the same way. The Sixers aren't one piece away, and they're simply not talented enough to seriously contend for a title, as constructed. Even if Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner fulfill their potential – surpass it, even – it's probably not going to be enough. Yet, it seems like the Sixers front office feels differently.
The smart moves for this franchise are probably as follows:
- Trade Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Thaddeus Young, or all three, in hopes of finding a young big man to pair with Jrue and Evan - Jrue, specifically.
- Let Louis Williams and Spencer Hawes walk.
- Sit on any cap space, outside of very minor signings - cheap, young players with upside, whom have very little risk involved.
- Draft for talent and upside, rather than fit or "safeness".
- Give Jrue and Evan the reigns of the team. Let them take their lumps, because a full season of evaluation is necessary before their rookie deals expire.
- Identify which young player(s) are worth building around.
Of those six steps, one, maybe two are likely to actually happen. Here's probably what will happen:
- Andre Iguodala is traded for a big man like Pau Gasol.
- Lou Williams returns as the sixth man, with a hefty new contract.
- Elton Brand is amnestied.
- An Elton Brand-eqsue contract is shelled out to a veteran big man.
- Doug Collins coaches the team to 50 wins in 2012-12 and they're eliminated in the second round again.
Do I prefer plan one over plan two? Absolutely. Is either plan a sure-fire ways to a championship? Absolutely not.
As long as Rod Thorn and Doug Collins are the general manager and coach, respectively, any form of re-building is not going to happen. It's just not. Whether we like it or not, this team is going to try and win now, building around what they already have. "Blowing it up", in any sense, is not an option.
For the record, I still believe in full re-build mode, until you find a legitimate franchise player or two – however long it takes – because that's the model of how to win an NBA championship. But that's not going to happen in Philadelphia – not now. They're going to try and build around Jrue and Turner, using Iguodala as a trade chip. It's not ideal, but that's where we're at.
Luckily, there are smart ways to approach the off-season, even in "win now" or "win soon" mode. As long as shrewd moves are made, this strategy won't be a "death blow", potentially setting the franchise back another decade.
So, that's how I'm going to approach the off-season – with the front office in mind. Gone are the days where I beat the re-building horse to a bloody pulp. It's unproductive to spend so much time debating scenarios that are completely unrealistic.
My focus shifts to writing about ways the Sixers can improve, and excel in their current situation. An eight-man rotation like: Jrue Holdiay, Evan Turner, Terrence Ross, Pau Gasol, Javale McGee, Louis Williams, Thaddeus Young and Lavoy Allen isn't completely out of the realm of possibilities. It's not my first choice, but that's a team I can get behind.
I repeat, the Sixers aren't going to re-build this off-season. Period. The sooner we come to grips with that, the more enjoyable and productive the off-season will be.