John Mitchell of the Inquirer had a pretty good article about where everything went wrong for the Sixers. Particularly interesting was the rise and fall of Doug Collins and the consolidation of power in the basketball operations side of the organization.
One of the things mentioned by Mitchell in the article was that, after the 2011 lockout, Doug Collins wanted to offer Kwame Brown a 5 year, $30 million contract.
"According to sources with intimate knowledge of the situation, Collins wanted to sign center Kwame Brown to a guaranteed five-year, $30 million deal before the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season."
Now, from what I understand, that's not exactly true. I was told by a source with knowledge of the situation last week that Collins did, in fact, push to sign Kwame Brown to a long term deal, although I was told that the contract he wanted to offer was 4 years, $20 million deal. In fact, with the new collective bargaining agreement signed after the 2011 NBA lockout, the Sixers could not have offered Brown a 5 year contract.
I was also told that, while Joshua Harris was convinced not to agree to the contract Collins desired, it was not necessarily Rod Thorn, but other members of the ownership group, who pushed against the move.
Regardless, the point is, the Kwame Brown situation could have been much, much worse had Doug Collins gotten his way.
While I didn't have permission from my source to run with the story at the time, I was dropping some (purposefully ambiguous) hints on twitter, which had the dual purpose of complaining about Brown picking up his second year player option, but also having deeper meaning because of what I knew at the time.
Thank god Kwame Brown only signed a 2 year deal.— Derek Bodner (@derekbodner) June 29, 2013
In the end, even with a good general manager in place, the Sixers didn't have the pieces to contend with a roster built around Holiday, Iguodala, and Brand, and didn't have the flexibility to get there. They needed a rebuild to try to get a legitimate superstar. Now we have an owner, and a general manager, willing to take the requisite steps backwards in order to contend.
Doug Collins mistakes helped get us to this point, and management did a good job in preventing long term contracts to weigh the team down. But it could have been worse.