Yesterday, Jordan wrote an article on why it doesn't make sense for the Sixers to keep Andre Iguodala. In terms of the big picture, his being on the team prohibits them from getting a better draft pick as much as it keeps touches and responsibilities away from Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. The team isn't good enough now, so even though we love Dre, better to move him, get worse, and assess what the young guys have rather than continue peddling in the cycle of mediocrity that's harbored the team for 11 years. Needless to say, I agree with Jordan.
But as much as I hate to say it, the NBA is a business and the owners have different values than I do when it comes to the direction of this team and what constitutes success and what is "relevance".
The owners, led by Josh Harris and CEO Adam Aron, spent a ton of time and effort gaining the good will of previously voiceless Sixers fans. Through their presence on Twitter, the tremendous ticket-slashing, and player intros, attendance climbed from dead last in the NBA in 2010-11 (72.6% full) to 18th last season (86.1% full). They happily backed into the playoffs and all of a sudden their first year was a success. Then Derrick Rose's ACL happened and BEST SEASON IN YEARS LOOKIE!
So publicly at least, they don't want to take a step back. I'm personally pretty impressed that they're willing to admit the team had maxed out its abilities and the personnel decisions they've made this offseason have at least somewhat reflected that opinion.
But the fact is, they can't suck next year. They won't. If they suck, it's Eddie Jordan all over again. It's empty arenas and a 4th sport fanbase retreating to the friendly confines of the Eagles, Flyers, and Phillies fandom. The owners don't want to risk losing the trust of the fans they seem to think they've picked up with their playoff run last season. So they won't let this team take a step back by trading Iguodala. Especially in the wake of any Olympic success.
I believe in a championship contender. And I believe that fans will come out to see a young, high-upside team getting better year after year by going after the Oklahoma City model. I also believe in Harvey Dent. Getting worse to get better has become accepted in most all NBA circles. The Sixers just aren't willing to take that risk of it not getting better soon enough.
They can move pieces, they can address some needs, they can expose others. This franchise knows exactly what they want. In this case, they want a playoff team and a shot at another potential run. They're maintaining cap flexibility and waiting until next offseason to make a big splash where they could trade Andre, but ultimately go after a big free agent to draw more fans. My money is on Monta Ellis.
Even though Iguodala clashes with the coach, limits the touches of the two best young players, and almost single-handedly keeps this team away from the lottery, the ownership won't trade him for scraps. He's too talented and they need this team to stay relevant. Or at least they think they do.