Xenophobics, beware. Jordan stepping down as co-manager was only the tip of the iceberg. We've got a major network change and six new writers to announce for the coming season. And you thought after the Bynum trade we'd just rest on our laurels and have Kwame Brown feed us basketball grapes.
Let's start with what's going to happen to the blog. SB Nation United is going to be fantastic, but it'll also take some getting used to. We ask you to be patient with the changes because it'll ultimately be worth it once we're throwing block parties in the Hamptons with Emily VanCamp and our new interface.
The layout is going to allow us to highlight the most important stories first rather than the standard Reverse Chronological we've had for years. The pages will load faster and will be especially more efficient for mobile users, a group whose numbers are becoming increasingly greater. It's going to make us more flexible without compromising things like Game Threads, Fanposts, Fanshots, and the rest of the goods you've become accustomed to over time. And it looks snazzy as hell.
There's not a hard and fast timetable for the change yet, but I can tell you it's gonna be soon, and I'm playing around with it to find bugs and problems before it goes live. Fun times ahead.
In regards to how the site is going to feel, nothing's gonna change in that regard. Booker T pictures and Full House references aren't going anywhere. Jordan will still visit. It's not like we broke up. It's like we downshifted from going steady to just hooking up. He'll still be around for a good fling, but you're not gonna have to go to his Great Aunt's 90th birthday party. It's like that.
After the jump, I'm super excited to announce the names of six writers with very different voices who will be contributing at Liberty Ballers starting immediately. The first five people we asked couldn't do it and neither could Tanner's mom so these are the next six we begged to help us.
I'm not doing these people justice, but I'll let you learn more about them as they start churning out quality stuff. Here's just a taste.
1. First up is LB commenter who has done some writing at Union blog The Brotherly Game as well -- Justin F. You already know Justin so I don't need to say much other than I'm looking forward to seeing him step his game up. Follow him on Twitter at @JFSportsFan.
2. Next, and we may as well get the ones you know out of the way, we have Brandon Lee AKA PhiladelphiaEagles AKA @PhillyFollower on the Twitters. He's going to be doing some contributing as well as managing the LB Facebook page, which you should Like anyway because that's what people do. Hopefully Brandon agrees to do some more Game Thread stats work, because that's what a huge nerd like I need to see -- documentation that I made a billion comments in a Sixers/Pistons game in March.
3. You've probably seen him on a number of places around the internet or at your local Chipotle, and he goes by @TheBSLine on Twitter... Roy Burton. Roy's been on CSN's Lunch Break with friend of LB Rhea Hughes and supplants Derek as oldest guy on the blog at 33. Still a spring chicken in my eyes, Roy. Tony Battie ain't got nothin' on us.
4. We're adding some lineage to the blog in the form of Rich Hofmann, Jr., son of longtime Philadelphia sportswriter Rich Hofmann (aptly named!), who has written for SportsWeek, Philly.com, and Depressed Fan among others. The X's and O's are where Rich finds his home, and I'm pumped to see actual analysis on the blog outside of Derek for a change. We may yet be a Sixers blog! Follow him on Twitter at @RichPhilly20.
5. I've poached myself another SABR nerd, this time from ESPN's Crashburn Alley, where he laments Juan Pierre's existence and turns a stiff nose to a run batted in. That'd be former Gamecock Mike Baumann (@MJ_Baumann), certified snob and extremely talented writer. He uses "Grantlandy" as an adjective, which should probably tell you all you need to know about him. I can't wait to see what he can bring to our kitchen table.
6. The last, and potentially most impactful, addition to the crew is someone who I'm hoping will whip us all into shape. I've been really really interested in bringing a woman onto the staff for some time now, and I'm thrilled I have the opportunity to do so now, in an extremely able writer: Kami Mattioli (@kmattio). She got her feet wet with Rahlir Jefferson and Michael Eric at OwlSports.com covering the Temple Owls, and has been on a few other sites and a few other locker rooms as well. She's also a lady so please start using deodorant.
Everyone has their own style and I'm honestly giddy at the possibility of running this well-oiled machine of varied voices and opinions going forward. We're entering the next phase as a blog and you're just as much a part of it as I am. I love the community here -- it's the reason why the site is the best Sixers blog out there and my personal third favorite blog on the internet (TGP's the first, P&T's the second) -- and I can't wait to see what happens next. It's going to be the bomb (dot com). I'm naked with excitement.
Sorry about all the changes happening at once but I promise we'll get through this and become better people and better lovers by the time this is all settled. Feel free to ask any questions or post any Robert Pattinson pictures below!