Let me go ahead and give this the ol' disclaimer that there will be assumptions, ideas, and hypotheticals that may be absurd in this post. It's fine. Everything is fine.
Our Sixers are perfect from my vantage point. The last year or two have been filled with tremendous lows and euphoric highs. We're absolutely on the high right now. The plan is in place. We have young talent and picks. And for as much as people whine, the season's over. The whole "what an excruciating year this has been" I don't buy. Search your feelings, you know it to be true. It has gone by fast. There are 25 games left. That's it. Then our fates are decided on May 20th, whereupon the NBA Lottery occurs. Plus, the NBA Playoffs tide you over until then after the season ends.
We have an excellent front office, allowed to be excellent by an excellent ownership group. Actualizing that front office's vision will take some time. Many people, not as much on this eclectic blog, but many want things done. They want things done immediately. As if the Sixers were championship worthy before this downward spiral. It's been bad since the decline of Dr. J. Inconsistency, horrid picks and signings, and short-term thinking have darkened the last 25 years of 76er basketball. Thankfully the old way is dead. Contrarily, another school of thought that wants to build almost exclusively through the draft, thoroughly dedicated to the long-term. We develop our young talent, then we make a signing/trade or two as sweeteners as the team blossoms
I thought I was firmly in the measured, patient approach category. But...why not now? Let's meld the two opposing viewpoints. I'll stop blathering and get right to my proposition: Sign LeBron. I know the natural inclination people have after hearing that. It's silly, it's delusional, it's stupid. These are all somewhat valid thoughts. Somewhat. Let me give you the first domino to fall in this process to entice LeBron sign with us: trade for Kevin Love. I know the natural inclination people have after hearing that. It's silly, it's delusional, it's stupid...gimme a chance, ya jaded Philly pricks ya.
Follow the logic. Star and Superstar level players are leaving their original franchises after their second contracts. This is due almost entirely to bad supporting casts and bad prospective supporting casts in the future. Did Magic leave the Lakers? No. He had Kareem, who left the Bucks after winning a title because the Big O was in decline. Did Michael? No, he had Scottie and others. Duncan? No, he had everything, and he was still considering forming a superteam in Orlando with Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill. The "kids these days" point of view about players leaving is asinine. They have always left, always will, and that's how it should be. It puts pressure on franchises to be smart and build well, instead of hall of famers toiling away their careers out of some false loyalty morality play.
The reason this is all relevant is because Kevin Love is leaving Minnesota. Guaranteed. Don't be childish, like everyone was in 2010. Hindsight and lack of honesty will prove people saying they all knew LeBron was leaving Cleveland. Every non-moron could see he was leaving, but the vast majority thought he would stay. There's evidence all over the net, and I'll point to one ESPN article that gives us this nice little blurb from September 14, 2009:
"Clevelanders can't exhale yet, but perhaps they can take some comfort in our forecast, as 73.1 percent of our panel members now see LeBron staying in Ohio. That's a switch from last year, when less than half the panel saw King James wearing the wine and gold past 2010."
This is how ridiculous it was, that people, "experts" even, thought the chance of him staying INCREASED from the previous year. I don't fault any player on this level or a level below for giving a team 7 or 8 years to build a legitimate team. There's a grand difference between a legitimate team and a bunch of role players cobbled together by uncreative, stupid front offices and ownerships that all choose to put their heads in the sand.
The fact is the Sixers are positioned perfectly for LeBron. 1. They have the cap space, which is most important. 2. They have the talent on the court and in management. 3. And they have the picks.
RIGHT NOW, it's not enough. We need a better team for the now. Having a delicate balance between now talent and future talent, with excellently timed contracts that fit nicely with the newly too punitive salary cap is paramount.
That's where the Kevin Love trade comes in, kiddies. We also have to take into account the enormous variable of our getting a top draft pick. Again, I mentioned there would be some assumptions. We'd have to get the number one overall pick in this scenario, to control out all risk and have choice. Alright so let’s get to the god damn trade...Thaddeus Young, the Pelicans pick (another huge assumption of around the 7-13 pick range), and.........NERLENS NOEL. Do the math. We take Embiid. LeBron sees MCW, a fully healthy JRich (te he), Himself, Kevin Love, Joel Embiid as the potential starting lineup. He also sees that he is the most likely of the three current Heat stars to stay an upper tier player for the longest amount of time. Just like Len Bias could have done for Boston, our young players and front office could do for LeBron. At his peak, the players around him are young but talented enough to win. During his descent, the young talent that he carried will start entering their primes or pre-primes. It's perfect, and it all works out.
As I'm writing this, I'm realizing in my hypothetical, the TWolves would demand the number one overall pick, and that would be entirely reasonable. That is actually a huge hole in this absurdity. Why would they want the rudimentary offense, torn ACL guy instead of their choice of a possibly higher potentialed big man in Embiid or their choice of Wiggins or Parker? The framework of the deal is solid though. Some combination of picks, Thad, and maybe Nerlens. Frankly, I think Noel is going to be fine, and there's evidence supporting that mostly due to his age. The Derrick Rose debacle has spooked me though.
Let's delve further into the TWolves perspective. They're one game under .500 and 5.5 back of the 8th seed. Most of their players have reached their potential, beyond Rubio or Shabazz. The problem is Love's free agency is just a year away. How much progress could those two make to convince Love to stay? Certainly not enough. Also, look at what they'd be getting back...#1 overall, a pick in the 7-13 range, and Thaddeus Young. That is a better future than with Love. It may be even be a better present, for next year. They're over the cap, and it's not like they can do much in the trade market to get help for Love. They're screwed. Why screw yourself even more by letting Kevin Love just walk, getting nothing in return. And compared to what the Magic and Nuggets got for their stars that wanted out, the Timberwolves should thank the shit out of us. Frankly, we might even be able to offer less in some way or another, but that discussion is for another day.
I don't understand how something like this couldn't happen. What I am looking for are detractors, in the sense that this is the wrong direction to go. Is our potential with all these assets better than a team with Kevin Love and possibly LeBron? One answer is that we could sign Kevin Love outright, and that is definitely a viewpoint I can understand and may even agree with. Klay Thompson is also a restricted free agent the same year, so we maybe the Warriors don't match a 76er overpay for him. Then we just go forward with MCW, 2guard or Thompson, Wiggins, Love, and Nerlens, with a lot of flexibility from 2014 other draft picks and second rounders in the future (but we lose some picks if we go for the "win now" or win soon, whatever the fuck).
In terms of feasibility, I am fully confident that this makes sense and is going to happen. I said LeBron was leaving Cleveland. I said we should trade Jrue. These things make too much sense. Logic seems to be a top priority with the Hinkie regime. The quality of the 76er team with LeBron and Love, added to MCW and Nerlens or Embiid is too great to comprehend. That's a fantastically balanced squad (much more than most recent title winners, especially the current version of the Heat), featuring vicious offense and defense (well, the defense part assumes a little bit, but LeBron and Embiid/Nerlens is a hell of a start. Actually it would be a great defense, ya jerk). There are players with versatility. That would produce at least 3 straight rings, depending on how cheap the new ownership is. After that third year is when MCW and Nerlens would be eligible for extensions. It would be around 65 to 75 million dollars for 4 players. But it would be after many runs at titles with high prices, selling out concessions, merch, nearly everything Sixer related. Only downfall is that the TV deal runs through 2029, so that revenue isn't negotiable regardless of everyone in and around Philly watching every single game. All of this increases the value of the franchise many times over.
The whole theme of this scenario is naiveté. It's naïve to think LeBron is just gonna automatically stay, if you look at ALL factors involved. It's naïve to think he wouldn't come to Philly, regardless of whatever trivial reason you can think of (market size-Philly is big, current and future team-who's better?, weather-ugh, you dumbbells, etc.) Kevin Love is giving some lip service about him going to LA, citing Minnesota's foundation. First off, he's partially right. Can you really trust Kobe to stay healthy or productive? Then, to the rumors of Kevin Love just signing there, are him and Westbrook (the purported new duo, based on nothing but conjecture that has roots in UCLA, LA market, possible cap space) a championship caliber duo? Come on. Even more unknowns than the Sixers.
Kevin Love is desperate to win. LeBron is desperate to cement his legacy as one of, if not the greatest of all time. He would need around 7 or 8 total rings to do that. Let's help both of them achieve their goals, and we achieve ours in the process. All it takes is some creativity and good salesmen.
The singular, lonely rebuttal to combat this brilliance happening this offseason is the Heat themselves. They may go one more year, opting in their player options. That probably makes sense for everyone, since Wade is looking solid and they won 2 rings when he wasn't solidly healthy anyway.
That would leave us another year of case building for big free agents to sign here. We'd have our picks and both the second and first years of MCW and Nerlens respectively in the books. LeBron and Love could just sign here outright right after that. But this route also compounds risk. Who knows what happens a year from now? MCW doesn't progress enough, Nerlens gets hurt, we choose the wrong guys in this year's draft, the potential incoming stars get injured...a lot can happen. This is why it is so important to take action if this path were actually taken into consideration.
The potential of it must be weighed to the potential of chugging along, making the right picks and making a signing or two (maybe Love or James, but let's just say for the sake of argument they don't want to or something else happens). MCW, Wiggins, Kyle Anderson, Thaddeus, and Noel, I wouldn't mind that. By the way, I want Kyle Anderson, and I don't know how no one is mentioning him for our second pick. I'm sick of "athletes." Give me someone who knows how to play basketball once in a while. Vonleh, Gordon, LaVine, Exum, whoever, I like em all, and they're not just athletes clearly. Just don't count out Anderson.
Trading for Kevin Love and signing LeBron, what could be more contrary to supposed realism, Mr. Hinkie? Give it a shot, make some calls, but make sure you consider every possible variable as you always do. Whatever route Hinkie and company decides, it will more than likely work out. When is the last time we could say that about a Sixer organization? Can anyone say that about any organization? The only problem I can foresee is trying to be too cool for the room like the Thunder were. They hit amazingly in drafts, then it all unraveled. Durant is going to leave there too, just like everywhere else. Teams just aren't good enough. The Sixers, however, will win, and we will win in a disciplined but very fun way. I'm going to be the local radio host asshole that says "just STOP," except I'm saying it to people who think LeBron and Love aren't coming here. Even if they don't, we'll be fine.
What do you LB guys say, no bad outcomes? Agreed.